Managing Freshwater Sustainably

© UNESCO/James Watt - Seapics

Securing access to safe drinking water (MDG 7) for all and wisely managing this resource is a high priority on the sustainable development agenda and has a multiplier effect on achieving all other EFA goals and MDGs. Expanding safe drinking water and sanitation services would drastically cut the loss of life from water-related illnesses and free up scarce resources in developing countries. Upgrading water supply and sanitation services can also improve education, allowing more girls to attend school instead of spending hours each day collecting water, underlining the close linkage between education and health-related MDGs. It would also save million of work days. The overall economic loss in Africa alone due to lack of access to safe water and basic sanitation is estimated at $28.4 billion a year or around 5% of GDP. To address this issue will require strengthening education, training, capacity-building and awareness raising efforts on the sustainable management of freshwater resources. It will also require enhancing the knowledge base necessary for informed decision-making processes in relation to water management and consumption, and developing sustainability policies which address global risks, including those associated with water, in an integrated and coordinated manner.

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