The 2013 World Water Week closed Friday with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) calling for the U.N. to make water a central focus of the post-2015 global development agenda.
The Stockholm Statement, the result of a consultation process before and during the main global meeting on water and development, said that since water is at the core of sustainable development, a dedicated goal on water is necessary for a world where all people can live in safety and dignity.
By the year 2050, water demand is projected to increase by 55 percent, while food demand and energy consumption are projected to increase by 60 and 80 percent respectively.
Using water more productively and efficiently is critical to meet the growing demand.
Currently, 783 million people still do not have access to clean water, and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.
In addition, as water-related disasters are among the worst and most recurrent, to achieve sustainable development exposure to water-related risks need to be lowered.
In the year declared by U.N. General Assembly as the "International Year of Water Cooperation", World Water Week focused on building partnerships, and experts all but agreed that in order to achieve sustainable development, adequate water governance and cooperation between actors in different sectors will be crucial.
In more than 100 seminars, workshops and events, more than 2,600 participants from governments, private sector, multilateral organisations, civil society and academia debated the most pressing water challenges of our time.
The Stockholm Statement called for the following goals to be achieved by 2030:
- Doubling global water productivity: Growing populations and economies, coupled with urbanisation and climate change, exert mounting pressure on water resources all over the world. To meet the demand, there is great potential to use water more productively and derive significant benefits from cross-sectoral coordination.
- Realising the right to safe drinking water and sanitation: Women and children often carry a disproportionate share of the burdens of water provision and lack of safe sanitation, with serious repercussions on their health, security and education, as well as their opportunities for development and prosperity. Political leadership and innovative governance are of critical importance to the realisation of this human right.
- Increasing resilience to water-related disasters: Comprehensively managing risks, sustaining healthy ecosystems and improving water quality are prerequisites for the provision of safe water, food, energy and other basic needs for people and societies in the future we want.