Water for Inclusive & Sustainable Development
Water is a basic human necessity, essential for physiological functioning, food production and industrial processes. It is also a key element maintaining environmental flows, biodiversity and other natural phenomena. Yet over 400 million people in the Asian and Pacific region lack access to clean drinking water, water tables are depleting and competition for an ever-scarce resource is on the rise to a potentially explosive zenith. Its proper use and management is pivotal for ensuring development that is inclusive for those who are vulnerable and lack access to its baseline benefits; and development that is sustainable, without leaving dysfunctional eco-systems for users today or users tomorrow.
Translating this knowledge to policies in the Asian-Pacific region seems difficult – forcing many citizens across the region into generalized states of water insecurity. Emerging traditions of understanding human life intertwined with water, matched with recent human security perspectives, can be further consolidated to develop a concept of water security: where water is removed as a barrier to human flourishing, and where water provides means to enhanced opportunities, capabilities and poverty alleviation.
ESCAP is developing a Water Security Framework, which aims at providing comprehensive tools to policymakers. Achieving water security consists of holding baseline access to sufficient quality water to meet basic needs, but it also means ensuring access to water for productive purposes, like agricultural and industrial uses.