Readings of the WRM Course
RDV Core Training Program FY98 Activity 2.2
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Comprehensive Assessment of the Freshwater Resources of the World
--- an UN document, 1997
CHAPTER THREE: CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY OPTIONS
D. Action: Recommendations
Bearing in mind existing principles and the recommendations in chapter
18 of Agenda 21, the following action are recommended partly based on the
discussion in previous sections of this report:
Manage water quantity and quality together in an integrated and comprehensive
manner, taking into account the upstream and downstream consequences of
management actions, regional and sectoral relations and social equity.
Base strategies for the sustainable development of water resources on a
participatory process that integrates all aspects freshwater management.
Provide equitable access to clean water for all people and include human
health and the state of the environment as water resource management indicators.
Develop sustainable water strategies that address basic human needs, as
well as the preservation of ecosystems, in ways that are consistent with
socio-economic objectives of different societies.
Develop adequate national and regional water policies and plans, and promote
cost-efficient water technologies. Water management must be integrated
into physical, social and economic planning, including land use planning,
forest resource utilization and protection of coastal zones from land based
activities. Land and water use are closely intertwined.
Integrate water in economic planning analysis. Recognize water and the
environment as vital capital. This means accounting for the value of water
in each nation's system of national accounts. The accounts need to reflect
the economic losses caused by a degradation of water resources.
Integrate the private sector into the water development process. While
people must be provided with access to water for basic needs at affordable
cost, the private sector can play a helpful role in seeing that water for
a number of industrial and agricultural uses is priced in a manner that
reflects its value to society.
Build up needed expertise on water issues among water users and decision-makers
at all levels, thus increasing their capacity to deal with complex water
management questions. There is a need for people with expertise in hydrology,
water quality, water law, water conflict resolution, and people who can
identify and help implement the best water technologies. It is essential
also to build expertise on dealing with the socio-economic aspects of water
management, such as water pricing, and the role of the private sector in
water supply and sanitation.
Enhance national water resource assessment capabilities and measurement
networks and establish water resource information systems that enable people
to understand the options available for sustainable urban, industrial,
domestic and agricultural development in combination with environmental
Pay attention to the role of gender in water resources management. In much
of the world, women play a key role in acquiring water and deciding how
it is used. They need to be part of the decision making process for water
projects and for industrial and land use projects that affect water quality
Develop models of cooperation aiming at maximizing the benefits from the
development of transboundary river basins or aquifers.
Accelerate the implementation of the water related activities contained
in the Action Plans adopted at the:
Conference for Small Island Developing States, Barbados, 1993.
International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 1994.
Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995.
Habitat II Conference, Istanbul, 1996.
Within the framework of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, approved
by the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996, examine and report on water related
activities aiming at securing access to food.
Develop an institutional and regulatory framework to ensure functional
water markets and protection of water rights.
Establish, within existing institutions, especially the UN system, a global
water information network to compile information with particular emphasis
on water quality, quantity and water use. The institutions should also
conduct regular global and regional water assessments. Water information
programmes should be implemented at national level, and international institutions
should propose models to ensure compatibility between data of individual
countries. There is a need for a periodic review and it is recommended
that the Commission on Sustainable Development carry out periodic global
fresh water assessments, using the existing network of experts.
Build on international collaborative arrangements such as the Global Water
Partnership, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, World
Water Council, and strengthen collaboration with Non Governmental Organizations.
Develop north-south academic partnerships to develop the research capacity
on a broad range of water-related issues, including those of quantity and
quality and those related to helping people understand the value of water
as natural capital.
Given the seriousness of the situation and future risk of crises, there
is an urgent need to act now. The international community has to strive
for a situation in which there is no undermining of the natural resource
base. Land and water need to be protected from long-term degradation that
threatens food production, aquatic ecosystems, human health and biodiversity.
There is a need to reduce water use per unit of production, using water-efficient
technologies. Pollution has to be sharply reduced, and persistent toxic
substances that accumulate in the food chain must no longer be released
into the environment. Agricultural water use has to become highly efficient,
so as to ensure an adequate food supply for everyone. Generally accepted
political goals need to be developed based on the fair sharing of benefits
from water use.
Develop partnerships with the private sector and industries to take advantage
of their expertise to achieve mutual benefits in the water sector.
In order to achieve this future it is necessary for governments to take
the steps needed to reach a Global Consensus over and above what is contained
in the existing principles and agreements on freshwater resources of the
world. Such a Consensus should take into account factors brought out in
Click for a complete copy of the UN document Comprehensive
assessment of the freshwater resources of the world
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