How valuable is water to people, the economy, the environment, and societies?

Water is a finite and non-substitutable resource. As the foundation of life, societies and economies, it carries multiple values and benefits. But unlike most other natural resources, it has proven extremely difficult to determine its true ‘value’. The 2021 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, Valuing Water, assesses the current status of and challenges to the valuation of water across different sectors and perspectives, and identifies ways in which valuation can be promoted as a tool to help improve its management and achieve global sustainable development.

The current status of water resources highlights the need for improved water resources management. Recognizing, measuring and expressing water’s worth, and incorporating it into decision-making, are fundamental to achieving sustainable and equitable water resources management and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The discussion in the Report is complemented with experiences from different global regions, opportunities to reconcile multiple values of water through integrated and holistic approaches to governance and financing mechanisms, and prospects to address knowledge, research and capacity needs. 

The report will be launched online in an event to be hosted by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on World Water Day, 22 March 2021. This year’s World Water Day is about what water means to people, its true value and how we can better protect this vital resource. The programme of the high-level event is being jointly developed by FAO and UNESCO.

Please take a minute to watch a video to discover more about the upcoming World Water Development Report!

The United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR)

The United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) is UN-Water’s flagship publication on water and sanitation issues. The UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) works in collaboration with UN-Water and other prominent institutions to produce the WWDR.

The theme of the World Water Day and the WWDR is aligned. Thus, the theme of the Report changes every year to highlight different strategic water issues and to provide content basis for discussions taking place throughout the year.

More information on the WWDR:

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