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757. UN World Water Development Report 2023: Partnerships and Cooperation for Water

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757. UN World Water Development Report 2023: Partnerships and Cooperation for Water

The UNESCO World Water Assessment Program released the "UN World Water Development Report 2023: Partnerships and Cooperation for Water”. Here are excerpts from the report on the world’s water status and water use in agriculture.


Water in the World

projected to increase at a similar rate through 2050 due to population growth, socioeconomic development, and other factors, with most of this increase concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, especially emerging economies. Water scarcity is becoming the norm as a result of the localized effects of physical water stress and the acceleration and spread of freshwater pollution.

Approximately 10% of the world's population lives in countries with high or critical water stress. Climate change will lead to seasonal water shortages in regions that are currently water-rich, such as Central Africa, East Asia, and parts of South America, and worsen in regions that are already water-scarce, such as the Middle East and the Sahel region of Africa.

Signs of risk related to water quality are seen in all low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries. Poor environmental water quality in low-income countries is often attributed to low levels of wastewater treatment, while agricultural runoff is a more serious problem in high-income countries.


Water Use in Agriculture

In many cases, water user associations are organized to help farmers manage common irrigation systems. Of these, the most successful are small water users' associations that receive social capital from other institutions in the region, have long-term involvement by local NGOs, and have democratic internal processes (e.g., elected chairpersons and directors).

However, some associations are not functioning well due to inadequate implementation structures, unclear roles and responsibilities, lack of women's participation, and lack of administrative authority. In addition, institutional by-laws and regulations mandated by government agencies (such as the Department of Irrigation and the Ministry of Water Resources) can limit the effectiveness of water users' associations.

By 2050, urban water demand is projected to increase by 80%. Allocating water from agriculture to urban centers has become a common strategy for meeting growing urban freshwater demands. Redistribution of water from agriculture has been generally successful in meeting growing urban demand. However, from an agricultural and rural perspective, negative results have been observed: irrigation water has been reduced, leading to reduced food security and lower livelihood income for farmers. Compensation for financial support and new infrastructure, as well as benefit-sharing arrangements, can help compensate for these negative impacts.

The Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem Nexus (WEFE Nexus)* is an EU-supported program that provides a systematic approach to understanding the interconnectedness and trade-offs of the WEFE The WEFE approach recognizes that water, energy, and food security and the water, soil, land, and other ecosystems are interdependent, and provides a holistic view of sustainability that integrates all sectors and seeks to balance the different goals, interests, and needs of people and the environment.


* WEFE Nexus (Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem Nexus)
Developed within the framework of the global program "Nexus Regional Dialogue". It is an independent information and facilitation platform, supported by the EU. The program is implemented by the Global Cooperation Initiative (GIZ), co-financed by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union (EU).


The United Nations World Water Development Report 2023: partnerships and cooperation for water; executive summary https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000384657


Contributor: KANAMORI Norihito (Information and Public Relations Office)


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