Water in the World We Want

Water in the World We Want

Schuster-Wallace C.J. and Sandford, R. 2015. Water in the World We Want. United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health and United Nations Office for Sustainable Development.

The international community is at an important juncture, as it is engaged in an intense debate on the future of the development agenda at the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. This worldwide dialogue takes place against a backdrop of poverty, increasing economic and social inequities, and global environmental changes. With failure no longer an option, we must build upon the lessons and successes of the Millennium Development Goals, recognise the importance of our environment for prosperity, and catalyse sustainable economic growth.While the post-2015 agenda will be definedat the global level its success, however, will be realized at national and subnational scales. Thus, in deliberations, attention must be paid to potential disconnects between what we must achieve as a global society and how these goals can be implemented effectively, efficientl, and in a timely manner on the ground. While this implementation has to accommodate national development priorities, a coordinated and integrated response must guide evidence-informed decision-making, trans-sectoral planning and policies, full cost accounting and economies of scope and scale. UNU-INWEH and UNOSD, together with our partners at the Global Water Partnership and McMaster University, have undertaken an analytical exercise to identify what implementation to achieve proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will look like at the country level. This initiative directly builds upon a global assessment of the role of water in sustainable development that we concluded in 2013. Findings of this country-based study, combined with the underlying evidence are presented in this policy brief.Through a series of country case studies, expert opinion, and evidence synthesis, the report explores the critical role that water plays (including sanitation and wastewater management) in sustainable development; current disconnects between some national development plans and the proposed SDGs; opportunities for achieving sustainable development through careful water management; and, implementation opportunities. It is our anticipation that this report fillsa critical gap in understanding the complexities associated with water resources and their management, and also provides substantive options that enable us to move forward within the global dialogue.