UN World Water Development Report 2021: Here’s a quick look at the highlights

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The United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2021, an annual and thematic report that focuses on different strategic water issues each year, states that recognizing water’s worth is fundamental to achieving sustainable and equitable water resources management and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Launched on the occasion of World Water Day (22nd March), the report provides decision-makers with a number of tools to implement sustainable water policies.

“Water is our most precious resource, a ‘blue gold’ to which more than 2 billion people do not have direct access. It is not only essential for survival, but also plays a sanitary, social and cultural role at the heart of human societies,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.

“The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remind us of the importance of having access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and highlight that far too many people are still without them. Many of our problems arise because we do not value water highly enough; all too often water is not valued at all,” stated Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Entitled ‘Valuing Water’, the key highlights of 2021 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report are:

• The current status of water resources underlines the requirement for improved water resources management.

• Measuring and expressing water’s worth, and including it into decision-making is indispensable to achieving sustainable water resources management and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

• The report added that “values” are a key aspect of power and equity in water resources governance.

• The failure to fully value water in all its different uses is considered a root cause of the political neglect of water as well as its mismanagement.

• Differences in the way water is valued occur between stakeholder groups. Thanks to limited knowledge of the actual resource, it presents a challenging landscape in valuing water.