UNESCO Releases the Second UN World Water Development Report

This edition of a triennial report was released 9 March 2006, on the eve of the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City. TitledWater: A Shared Responsibility , it is a comprehensive assessment of freshwater resources. The 2006 edition focuses on the importance of governance in managing the world’s water resources and tackling poverty. It contains a number of findings that are of relevance to disasters and disaster prevention:

  • Some 90 percent of natural disasters are water-related events (tsunamis, floods, droughts, pollution, and storm surges), and they are on the increase. Many are the result of poor land use.
  • The report points to the drought in East Africa, driven in part by the felling of forests for charcoal production and fuel wood, as an example. It also cites the slow-motion disaster at Lake Chad, which has shrunk by some 90 percent since the 1960s, mainly because of overgrazing, deforestation and large unsustainable irrigation projects.
  • Two out of every five people now live in areas vulnerable to floods and rising sea-levels. The nations most at risk include Bangladesh, China, India, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United States of America and the small island developing states. The report stresses that changing climate patterns will further exacerbate the situation.

Related Links:

http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/ and http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=32057&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.