Nature-based Solutions for Water 2018: The United Nations World Water Development Report 2018
More than 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and more than double that number lack access to safe sanitation. With a rapidly growing global population, demand for water is expected to increase by nearly one-third by 2050. In the face of accelerated consumption, increasing environmental degradation and the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, we clearly need new ways to manage competing demands on our precious freshwater resources. The 2018 edition of the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR2018) suggests that solutions may be closer than we think. For too long, the world has turned first to human-built, or “grey”, infrastructure to improve water management. In so doing, it has often brushed aside traditional and Indigenous knowledge that embraces greener approaches. Three years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is time for us to re-examine nature-based solutions (NBS) to help achieve water management objectives. The WWDR2018 illustrates that working with nature, rather than against it, would enhance natural capital and support a resource-efficient and competitive circular economy. NBS can be cost-effective, and simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits. These interwoven benefits, which are the essence of sustainable development, are central to achieving Agenda 2030.
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