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Asia and the Pacific has only 36 percent of the world’s water resources, its per capita water availability is the lowest in the world. More than 80 per cent of the wastewater generated in the region’s developing countries is not treated1, and wastewater remains an under tapped resource. Around half of the rural population in Asia and the Pacific has no access to improved sanitation, while the region’s urban population has more than doubled between 1950 and 2000, creating a huge demand for water and wastewater treatment systems. Persistent organic pollutants and other hazardous chemicals are making their way into water sources, polluting ground and surface water resources and water-related ecosystems. The region is one of the most disaster-prone in the world, and its major economic sectors, such as agriculture and energy, are largely dependent upon a reliable supply of freshwater. Due to the population growth, urbanization, and increased industrialization, water competition among sectors has become more severe in the region, which has been threatening agricultural production, food security and which affects water quality. These conditions, compounded by the impacts of climate change, will hamper the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 if left unaddressed. Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation affect the health of ecosystems, societies and economies and will negatively impact the achievement of the other SDGs as well.

Environment and Development Division +66 2 288 1234 [email protected]