The complex nature of problems and issues within this theme requires an integration that covers all components of the hydrologic cycle, including: surface water bodies (lakes and rivers), groundwater aquifer, coastal areas (including mangroves), and open-sea marine environments. This integrated approach gives due consideration to both water quantity and quality aspects. Particular emphasis is provided on management of transboundary water resources.
|Water comprises the most basic and critical component of all aspects of human life and is an indispensable component of the global life support system. The water environment is characterized by the hydrological cycle, including floods and droughts, with some regions of the world being more vulnerable to their devastating consequences. The widespread scarcity, gradual destruction and aggravated pollution of water resources along with the progressive encroachment of incompatible activities have led to a range of water crises across the globe. The complex nature of problems and issues requires an integrated planning and management approach. It is also important to recognize the multi-sector utilization of water resources for water supply and sanitation, agriculture, industry, urban development, hydropower generation, fisheries, transportation, recreation, low and flat lands management and other activities.
Water comprises a most basic and critical component in all aspects of human life. Freshwater resources are an essential component of the earth's hydrosphere and an indispensable part of all terrestrial ecosystems. Also, transboundary water resources and their use are of great importance to riparian States. Similarly, the marine water environment - including the oceans and all seas and adjacent coastal areas - forms an integrated whole that is an essential component of the global life-support system. The marine ecosystems are a positive asset that presents opportunities for sustainable development.
On the whole, the water environment is characterized by the hydrological cycle, including floods and droughts, which in some regions have become more extreme and dramatic in their consequences. The widespread scarcity, gradual destruction and aggravated pollution of water resources in many world regions, along with the progressive encroachment of incompatible activities have triggered a range of water crises. Additionally, global climate change and atmospheric pollution could also have an impact on water resources and their availability.
The complex nature of problems and issues requires an integrated planning and management of water resources. Such integration must cover all components of the hydrologic cycle, including: surface water bodies (lakes and rivers), groundwater aquifer, coastal areas (including mangroves), and open-sea marine environments. This integrated approach should give due consideration to both water quantity and quality aspects. The multisectoral nature of water resources development in the context of sustainable development should be recognized. It is also important to appreciate the multi-interest utilization of water resources for water supply and sanitation, agriculture, industry, urban development, hydropower generation, fisheries, transportation, recreation, low and flat lands management and other activities.
The activities undertaken by UNU cover a broad range of issues related to the water crises. A major emphasis area deals with monitoring and management of water pollution in coastal areas. The general objective is to identify coastal areas which are threatened by pollution, recognize the potential land-based sources for such pollution and develop guidelines for management of pollution sources and for rehabilitation of degraded environments. This approach agrees quite well the Washington Action Plan (1995) adopted by the UN to protect coastal areas for land-based sources of pollution.
Projects and Initiatives:
- Water Pollution Monitoring And Governance in Coastal Areas
- Industrial development and population growth along coastal areas has increased the risk of pollution of coastal environmental resources. Pollutants from land-based sources reaching the coastal areas via water influx area major factor in deteriorating coastal environments. ESD plays a key role in monitoring these pollutants in the Asia-Pacific coastal regions. These activities are linked to capacity building as well as development of guidelines for consistent coastal management programs in the region.
Go to the LandBase website ...
- International Rivers and Lake Basins Management
As much as 60 percent of the global population depends on the waters of international fresh water systems - rivers and lakes of which basins are shared by more than two countries. Management of such water bodies is highly challenging due to conflicting interests of the basin countries. In the hope of finding solutions to mitigate or prevent such confrontations, UNU has facilitated studies and expert discussions for investigating and initiating a dialogue between the concerned stakeholders of various international water basins. Based on such experience, innovative and unique perspectives of international water systems management have been developed.
- Technological and Policy Dimensions of the
Arsenic Contamination in the Asian Region
The pollution of drinking water by arsenic has become a serious challenge for
people living in various parts of Asia as well as Latin America. The problem,
by far, is much more severe in South Asia and China. Naturally- occurring and
human-induced arsenic pollution in drinking water has since been discovered in
many parts of the world. We now regard it as a problem of truly global
- Cooperative International Research Project on Marine and Coastal Environment
This project is a joint initiative between UNU, the Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo, and the Iwate Prefectural Government. It aims to preserve global or regional marine
environments and also contribute to the sustainable
development of ocean resources and commercial fisheries,
through the promotion of cooperative international research
and the construction of an international research network
concerning the marine environment, and the popularization of
marine environment education.
- Sustainable Management of Headwater Resources
Headwaters are the places where water flow-lines originate and where much groundwater recharge occurs. They are the ultimate source of a great portion of terrestrial fresh water. Headwaters today face a variety of problems that affect not only the people in the headwater region but also a greater portion of the population and ecosystems in the associated catchments. This project aims at protecting headwater resources, in collaboration with the Headwater Control Movement under the auspice of International Association on Headwater Control (IAHC) and World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWC).
- UNU Water Publications