UNESCO Future Forum - Global Water Futures 2050+


12 April 2012
UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France

By 2025, an estimated 60 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed conditions, and a similar proportion will be without adequate sanitation. Securing access to safe drinking water (MDG 7) for all and wisely managing this resource was therefore a high priority on the global sustainable development agenda for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012.

Cognizant of the need for water managers, government leaders, civil society and businesses to work together to sustainably manage water under uncertainty and risk in an integrated and coordinated manner, UNESCO hosted the Future Forum on "Global Water Futures 2050" at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 12 April, 2012.

The Forum was a future-oriented event, in which renowned water experts from different parts of the world participated in dialogue on:  

  • the status of the world’s freshwater resources by presenting the key findings from the 4th United Nations World Water Development Report;
  • the role of science as a powerful tool for sustainable water management;
  • the presentation of the first phase of the Global Water Scenarios Project, which aims at giving the global community a road map for the future.

It was an occasion to review the global progress that has been made towards the sustainable management of water resources using integrated approaches, to better understand how investment and financing in water can lead to a more sustainable future, and to present global water scenarios of what the future could look like depending on the behavior of decision-makers in governments and societies in the next few decades.

The objective was to enable leading experts to share their views with representatives of Member States of UNESCO, the Secretariat, decision-makers, intellectual and scientific communities, civil society, media and general public so as to raise awareness about global water issues, and to advocate for a coordinated global approach to managing and allocating water in the lead up to Rio+20.

The Forum was opened by Hans d’Orville, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Strategic Planning. Renowned water experts included:

  • William Cosgrove, Senior Adviser to the Fourth Edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report; Manager, World Water Scenarios Project;
  • Olcay Unver, Coordinator of the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme and Director of the UNESCO Programme Office on Global Water Assessment in Perugia; 
  • Abdin Salih, Acting Director of the Division of Water Sciences and Acting Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP);
  • Andras Szollosi-Nagy, Rector, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education;
  • Patricia Wouters, Director, Dundee UNESCO HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science.
Back to top