WWAP Briefing Notes

These short papers highlight key messages from the WWDR3 in relation to specific issues or themes.


  • Water and Climate Dialogue - Adapting to Climate Change: Why We Need Broader and 'Out-of-the-Box' Approaches

    August 2011, WWAP

    This briefing note is based on a stakeholder dialogue organized by the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) at the Dialogs for Water and Climate and Climate Change (D4CC) during the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16), held in Cancun, Mexico from November 29 to December 10, 2010 (more information). The note aims to bring the water agenda more fully into the international debate on the impacts of climate change. The interconnections between water and climate are complex and not isolated from other forces, pressures and opportunities generated primarily by human activities. The note summarizes the broad scientific consensus on the potential impact  of climate change on water resources and water users as well as helps us understand the environmental, social and economic implications. The note also promotes the urgent need for adaptation in the management of water. It provides a succinct overview of the key issues in water management and use in language accessible to diverse stakeholders involved in water adaptation. It showcases actions that stakeholders and countries can and are already taking to adapt to climate change and its effects on water resources, and provides policy options (a synthesis of existing accepted policy messages) for decision-makers in water-dependent sectors to implement at all levels for everybody’s benefit.

    Download - Briefing Note: "Water and Climate Dialogue - Adapting to Climate Change: Why We Need Broader and 'Out-of-the-Box' Approaches" [PDF - 2 MB]

  • Monitoring Framework for Water - The System of Environmental-Economic Accounts for Water (SEEA-Water) and the International Recommendations for Water Statistics (IRWS)

    August 2011, WWAP and UNSD

    The UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) series has reiterated the fact that data and information  on water resources are incomplete or lacking altogether for some countries. It is against this backdrop that the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) reached out to the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) to produce this briefing note together and provide a better understanding of international methodological standards for water which have been developed by the international statistical community. This briefing note will help water professionals step outside the ‘water box’ and take into account broader social, political and economic issues affecting the use and allocation of water resources.

    Download - Briefing Note: "Monitoring Framework for Water" [PDF - 4.12 MB]

  • Water for Sustainable Urban Human Settlements

    June 2010, Kulwant Singh 

    Already today, half of the world’s people live in urban areas. By the middle of this century all regions will be predominantly urban. Building on the outcomes of the WWDR3 and on work implemented by UN-HABITAT, this Briefing Note restates the critical water-related challenges of this unprecedented urban expansion – from providing access to basic services to ensuring environmental and human security. The paper provides urban mayors, leaders and high-level decision makers with concrete policy options to meet these challenges, protect against potential water-related disasters and ensure the development of sustainable urban settlements.

    Download - Briefing Note: "Water for Sustainable Urban Human Settlements" [English PDF - 2 MB]

  • The Implications of Climate Change on Water

    November 2009, Jim Winpenny 

    Drawing on the evidence presented in the WWDR3, this paper restates the mounting evidence in many regions of the impact of climate change on the earth’s hydrological cycle, in the form of increased frequency of floods and droughts and changes in long term trends in precipitation. Water is being heavily affected by climatic changes already under way and what matters for water is adaptation measures to enable it to cope with these changes. This paper reviews what this implies for different water services, water resource management, water-related hazards, data collection and monitoring, education, awareness, capacity building, and other necessary responses.

    Download - Briefing Note: "The Implications of Climate Change on Water" [English PDF - 612 KB]

  • Lakes: Freshwater Storehouses and Mirrors of Human Activities

    October 2009, by Walter Rast

    This briefing note draws from the findings of the WWDR3 that address the importance of lakes and lake basin management. As with the range of water systems highlighted in the WWDR3, the global experience of lake basin management encompasses a wide variety of lessons, particularly in regard to governance, which are articulated here.

    Download - Briefing Note: "Lakes: Freshwater Storehouses and Mirrors of Human Activities" [English PDF - 293 KB]

  • Water Security: A Preliminary Assessment of Policy Progress since Rio

    December 2001 

    This publication was a WWAP contribution to the International Conference on Freshwater held in Bonn in December 2001, and to the 1st United Nations World Water Development Report. It reviews national policy developments since 1992, and takes stock of the eleven challenges defined by the Programme.

    Arabic [PDF - 2,31 MB]

    Chinese [PDF - 450 KB]

    English [PDF - 192 KB]

    French [PDF - 284 KB]

    Spanish [PDF - 209 KB]

    Russian [PDF - 517 KB]


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