The UN-Water Task Force on Water Security has released an analytical brief, titled “Water Security and the Global Water Agenda,” to mark World Water Day.
The report defines water security to clarify agreement on the concept and to facilitate progress on water security in international fora, including on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and at the UN Security Council.
22 March 2013: The UN-Water Task Force on Water Security has released an analytical brief, titled “Water Security and the Global Water Agenda,” to mark World Water Day. The report defines water security to clarify agreement on the concept and to facilitate progress on water security in international fora, including on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and at the UN Security Council.
The brief underscores the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation across levels, sectors and political borders to address water security and ensure transboundary water security.
UN-Water proposes the following definition for water security: “The capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of and acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.” The definition was developed by the UN and experts from around the world.
The brief calls for discussion on a goal on universal water security in the Open Working Group (OWG) on the SDGs. It suggests targets and indicators that reflect the cross-cutting impacts of water on energy, food and other areas and the role of water in achieving economic and social development and environmental sustainability.
The brief also calls for including water security on the UN Security Council agenda, noting that the Council recognized the implications of climate change, including its effects on water, in 2011. According to the brief, this would increase recognition of the risks of water insecurity and of its contribution to peace and security. It further recommends the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) recognize safe drinking water and sanitation goals. The brief also recommends: a supportive policy environment, including innovative financing, to ensure water security; increasing human, financial, institutional, service provisioning and technical capacity to address water needs; and protecting ecosystems to ensure water quantity and quality.
The brief also examines the impacts of conflicts and disasters on water and ecosystems, including on access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and recommends addressing water security concerns immediately after conflicts and disasters.
Finally, the brief showcases progress on water security, such as: the signing of the Guaraní Agreement by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay; establishment of a basin-wide organization to manage Lake Uromiyeh in Iran; and the nine-country management of the Rhine River in Europe. [UN-Water Press Release] [Publication: Water Security & the Global Water Agenda: A UN-Water Analytical Brief]