Hosted and led by UNESCO, the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) coordinates the work of 31 UN-Water members and partners in the World Water Development Report (WWDR).
This key UN Water report is an annual review providing an authoritative picture of the state, use and management of the world’s freshwater resources. In addition to coordinating this significant UN report, WWAP monitors freshwater issues in order to provide recommendations, develop case studies, enhance assessment capacity at a national level and inform the decision-making process.
WWAP seeks to equip water managers and key decision-makers with the information, data, tools and skills necessary to enable them to effectively participate in the development of policies.
This UN-wide programme wants to influence leaders in government, civil society and private sector, so that their policies and decision-making that affect water promote sustainable social and economic development at local, national, regional and global scales.
WWAP also seeks to equip water managers with knowledge, tools and skills so
- they may effectively inform and participate in the development of policies and in decision making;
- they may plan for, develop and manage water resources to meet the above objectives.
Objectives of the Programme
The Programme's objectives are to:
- Monitor, assess and report on the world's freshwater resources and ecosystems, water use and management, and identify critical issues and problems;
- Help countries develop their own assessment capacity;
- Raise awareness on current and imminent/future water related challenges to influence the global water agenda;
- Learn and respond to the needs of decision-makers and water resource managers;
- Promote gender equality;
- Measure progress towards achieving sustainable use of water resources through robust indicators; and
- Support anticipatory decision-making on the global water system including the identification of alternative futures.
The growing global water crisis threatens the security, stability and environmental sustainability of developing nations. Millions die each year from water-borne diseases, while water pollution and ecosystem destruction grow, particularly in the developing world. Over the past few decades there has been an increasing acceptance that the management of water resources must be undertaken with an integrated approach, that assessment of the resource is of fundamental importance as the basis for decision-making and that national capacities to undertake necessary assessments must be fully supported. Management decisions to alleviate poverty, to allow economic development, to ensure food security and the health of human populations as well as preserve vital ecosystems, must be based on our best possible understanding of all relevant systems.
In 1998, the Sixth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development stated that there was a need for regular, global assessments on the status of freshwater resources. In response to this recommendation, the member organizations of UN-Water (known then as the ACC Subcommittee on Water Resources) decided to undertake a collective UN system-wide continuing assessment process. Founded in 2000, the flagship programme of UN-Water, the World Water Assessment Programme coordinates the production of the triennial UN World Water Development Report (WWDR), with an aim to report on the status of global freshwater resources and the progress achieved in reaching the Millennium Development Goals related to water.