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Will there be a water goal in the post-2015 agenda?

Mar 7th, 2014 |

Water is at the heart of global concerns. It is the theme which has aroused the most interest and raised most contributions on the “World We Want” platform, launched by the United Nations to prepare the post-2015 targets. It comes in second place in the consultations carried out by the United Nations in over 60 countries.

Although progress has been observed in the last few years in meeting water supply and sanitation goals, mankind is faced with a real emergency regarding water resources:

  • In terms of sanitation, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aimed to halve the number of people in the world with no access to basic sanitation by the year 2015, are far from being reached; 2.5 billion people still do not have such access (WHO, 2010);
  • In terms of drinking water, the figure probably lies between 2 and 4 billion people today (half of mankind) that consume water on a daily basis that is either non-potable, dangerous or even life-endangering (UN Water, 2012), and this despite the fact that the corresponding MDG on access to “improved sources” (protected from animal contaminations) was achieved in 2010;
  • 90% of pollution discharged into the waterways all over the world receives no prior treatment, resulting in considerable damage to health and the environment (UN Water, 2008);
  • Finally, by the year 2025, two thirds of the world’s population could be affected by water stress (UNESCO, WWAP, 2006), likely to undermine the respect for the universal right of access to food, and 1.8 billion people will live in regions where the groundwater aquifers will be over-exploited.

Global demographic growth and changing lifestyles are constantly increasing water demand all over the world, the latter having multiplied by 6 over the last century. The effects of climate change (flooding and droughts) increase pressure on water resources and ecosystems and prove problematic for all the countries in the world.

The current situation is not sustainable, considering the water crises and the regional and international insecurities affecting in all the sectors for which water is a critical component: food security, health, risk management, energy, decent and sustainable living environments, sustainable ecosystems, etc. and requires concerted effort on a global scale to promote the adoption of a water goal in the post-2015 Agenda

The Millennium Development Goals were created to progressively achieve 8 development targets by 2015. Although progress has been made in some areas, poverty and development continue to be a global challenge. Since 2010, the UN Secretary General initiated discussions on developing a post 2015 development agenda.

Although water has been highlighted as a priority in several UN reports, it is not listed as a potential theme for the post 2015 agenda and therefore there is a real risk that water will not be included in the priority goals.

The EWP believes that water is at the heart of global concerns and should be addressed. To make sure that water becomes a specific goal in the post-2015 agenda, the European Water Partnership commits to a water goal in the post 2015 agenda and works together with National Water Partnerships across the EU in the promotion of the adoption of a water goal in the post-2015 Agenda.

The EWP commits to:

  • Waste no time in working in closer collaboration with their governments in order to better understand their positions regarding post-2015 issues and the state of sectoral discussions;
  • Persuade their Heads of State and Governments of the need for a post-2015 water goal and influence their official positions to this end;
  • Ask their members and partners to act to mobilize their local and international networks;
  • Discuss the actions carried out and the results obtained with the other Country Partnerships committed to this initiative;
  • Share their views on the operational capacity of such a goal and related targets and indicators.
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