Policies and Approaches to Protect Water Quality and Resources in Developing Countries

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1 Policies and Approaches to Protect Water Quality and Resources in Developing Countries Dr. Zafar Adeel Director, UNU-INWEH Chair, UN-Water Alliston, 19 November 2010

2 Overview Scope of the global water crisis Global challenges in water quality Possible solutions and policy roadblocks


4 Access to Water About.9 billion without safe water Source: Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-water: 2010 Update. WHO and UNICEF 2010

5 Access to Sanitation 2.6 billion without sanitation Source: Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-water: 2010 Update. WHO and UNICEF 2010

6 Trucking water Kisumu, Kenya

7 Water supply after drought Haryana, India Open sewers in urban slums Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

8 Millions of women have to do it with an audience

9 World-wide deaths attributable to poor water, sanitation & hygiene: Over 3.5 million each year Over 80 % of the deaths occur in Africa and S. Asia

10 1.4 million children die each year from diarrhoea alone


12 Focus on Water Quality A critical issue worldwide, but not adequately addressed Paramount for water availability Multi-sectoral problem and therefore complex Many different actors at all levels (from transboundary to local)

13 Scope of the Problem 2 million tons of inadequately treated sewage, industrial, and agricultural wastes are poured into the world s waters Human Impacts: Tens of millions of cases of acute illness Over 1.5 million children die of preventable diseases Significant contribution to long-term illnesses Ecosystem Impacts: Freshwater species population fell by 50% ( )

14 Some Facts and Figures... 40% of North American rivers are too polluted for fishing or swimming Around 80% of the pollution in seas and oceans comes from land-based activities Pollution of drinking water is a problem for about half of the world's population


16 Possible Solutions Prevent pollution Innovative technologies to minimize waste Reduce leaks and fugitive releases Reduce energy and water consumption Treat polluted water improve the treatment of new contaminants reduce the cost of treatment Restore ecosystems Restoration activities for rivers & lakes Minimum ecosystem needs for water quality and quantity Re-consider water resources planning

17 Policy Challenges in Developing Countries Minimal understanding of the need to protect water quality Public and policy perceptions are not informed by science Low investment in monitoring Diminished interest in created long-term monitoring systems Minimal scientific, technological and human capacity Critical need to build institutions Fragmentation amongst governmental institutions (ministries) Data sharing and cohesion in action are missing Lack of integrated legislation and policy frameworks Envisioning integration is difficult

18 Some Examples Thailand Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (est. 2002) Merger of departments focused on water, oceans, minerals & forests Significant improvements in governmental cohesion Malaysia Mimics US EPA, including water quality act Good implementation of laws; improvements in water quality China Ministry of Environmental Protection formed in 2008 Superseded State Environmental Protection Agency (est. 1998) Laws and policy frameworks in place; very limited implementation

19 Moving Forward - 1 Improve understanding of water quality: Ongoing monitoring and assessment Build capacity and expertise in developing countries Expand communication and education: Global education and awareness-building campaign Improve financial and economic approaches: Access to financing Appropriate pricing or subsidy programme

20 Moving Forward - 2 Expand use of effective technologies: Provide logistical support as well as management and technical training Develop new technologies when needed Facilitate use of appropriate legal, institutional, regulatory tools, including: Laws on protecting and improving water quality International guidelines for ecosystem water quality Identification of priority areas for remediation

21 Thank you United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment & Health The UN Think Tank on Water