UNESCO, WWAP Report Investigates Water Scarcity-Migration Links
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The World Water Assessment Programme has found close links between the impacts of water scarcity and migration patterns in regional hotspots including in the African, Mediterranean, South Asian and East Asian regions.

The research, published in the report titled, 'Migration and Its Interdependencies with Water Scarcity, Gender and Youth Employment,' also describes the gendered experience of migration for women and men.

22 September 2017: The World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have published a report titled, ‘Migration and Its Interdependencies with Water Scarcity, Gender and Youth Employment.’ It finds close links between the impacts of water scarcity and migration patterns in regional hotspots including in the African, Mediterranean, South Asian and East Asian regions. The report also shows that water availability and quality impacts both youth employment and social stability.

The publication finds that growing climate variability affects water resources and the availability of jobs for youth, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. While the jobs most affected by water scarcity are in agriculture, other affected sectors include animal husbandry and fisheries. Populations migrate as a way of adapting to the lack of both water and employment opportunities.

The authors argue for a focus on improving water supply, access and governance as important elements of strategies for mitigating social unrest.

The report’s authors argue for a focus on improving water supply, access and governance as important elements of strategies for mitigating social unrest and improving local livelihoods. They cite figures from earlier research indicating that two-thirds of the global population, four billion people, experience severe water scarcity for at least one month a year, while another half a billion people experience severe water scarcity all year.

The research also describes the gendered experience of migration for women and men. Male out-migration results in greater burdens at home for women, but without property rights or water rights accruing to them. Out-migration by women, which typically occurs later than male out-migration, may lead to the disintegration of families and have serious psycho-social impacts.

The authors call for adopting more inclusive governance that recognizes the role of women in water management and land tenure, and that strengthens social, administrative and political accountability in water resources management. They cite both sustainable development and human rights perspectives, which call for reducing inequities in access to water-related services. They see basic water services as essential to economic growth, productivity, health, education, and poverty alleviation. Finally, they call for increasing knowledge and capacity to foster resilience and contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. [Report Web Page] [Publication: Migration and Its Interdependencies with Water Scarcity, Gender and Youth Employment]

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