4th World Water Development Report (WWDR4): “A roadmap to move forward”

Nota publicada al butlletí del 6th World Water Forum.

Ahead of the Rio + 20 Conference, the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) and UNESCO present the WWDR4: a new approach for reflecting on global water reality and future.

Water as a factor in many global crises is a key message of the WWDR4. This “roadmap to move forward” (Irina Bokova, Director-General UNESCO), presented on Monday by speakers involved in its conception, represents the concerted efforts of 28 UN-Water agencies.

As with previous editions, the centrality of water is a driving force behind the report—however, the WWDR4 approach to exploring and analysing its global dimensions is different. During the launch, Olcay Ünver, WWAP Coordinator, discussed some of the triennial report’s novelties. These included: 17 areas/topics/sectors, a new regional component, a look inside and outside the “water box”, a glimpse of possible futures, and a gender-mainstreamed component.

‘Managing water under uncertainty and risk’, is addressed in the report’s first of three volumes. Its first section provides an overview of recent developments, trends and key challenges from different perspectives, and in the second, emphasis is placed on water management under risk and uncertainty. ‘Knowledge Base’, a collection of reports prepared by UN-Water members and partners, constitutes the factual base for the previous volume. Finally, ‘Facing the Challenges’ features 15 case studies describing the progress made in meeting water-related goals, as well as their successes, failures, and lessons to be learned.

“Water… is a common denominator for most of the world’s challenges”, Irina Bokova, Director-General UNESCO

The WWDR4 also underlined strengthened cooperation in water initiatives. When one considers that 40% of the world’s population depends on transboundary water, and that projected population growth (70% by 2050) will lead to increases in global food demand (70% by 2050) and energy consumption (49% by 2035), it is evident that there must be a socioeconomic dimension considered when approaching water management. Managing competing water demand amidst increasing water scarcity, and achieving sustainable economic development: such is the WWDR4’s vision for the world’s collective future.


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