This publication contains principles and policy options of guidelines on water and sustainable development for the ESCAP secretariat. The guidelines were reviewed and adopted at a regional seminar on the subject held in Bangkok from 9 to 13 December 1996.
Chapter 18 of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 1992 emphasizes that rationally sound and environmentally friendly water resources development and management are necessary for the achievement of sustained socio-economic development. It also cautions that global climate change and atmospheric pollution due to indiscriminate and environmentally unfriendly economic activities could also have an adverse impact on freshwater resources and their availability).
The multisectoral nature of water resources development .in the context of socio-economic development, as well as the multi-interest utilization of water resources for water supply and sanitation, agriculture, industry, hydropower development, inland fisheries, transportation, recreation and other activities have made the planning of programmes and projects on water and sustainable development a highly complex task. It is therefore considered necessary to develop guidelines on Water and sustainable development in order that in the near future water resources development activities do not adversely affect sustained socio-economic growth and, similarly socio-economic development does not adversely affect sustainable water supply potential.
As a preparatory step towards the establishment of guidelines on water and sustainable development, the ESCAP secretariat organized an Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Development of Water Resources in Bangkok from 10 to 12 July 1996. The meeting reviewed information on water resources availability, and demand by various users, and discussed and agreed on the nature, scope, and content of guidelines to be prepared by ESCAP, Subsequently, the guidelines were drafted, and then reviewed and adopted at the Seminar on Development of Guidelines on Water and Sustainable Development, held in Bangkok from 9 to 13 December 1996.
These guidelines contain all aspects of protection of freshwater resources outlined in chapter 18 of Agenda 21, namely, legal aspects, water protection and conservation, water pollution prevention, groundwater protection and conservation, freshwater living resources, application of clean technology and monitoring and surveillance of water bodies.