Water Security & the Global Water Agenda - A UN-Water Analytical Brief

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It is fitting that the topic of water security, through the launch of this Analytical Brief, figures among the many celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of World Water Day on 22 March 2013 and the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation. In recent years, the issue of water security has been gaining traction in the global political agenda and earning attention from national governments at the highest level, in particular for its links to peace and national security, but also for its implications for development issues.

Several recent events and discussions have highlighted these links between water security and international peace; most notably, the High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Water, Peace and Security jointly hosted by the United States, the European Union and UN-Water that took place during the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 20121 . As highlighted by then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, water security is key for ensuring peace and security, but also for human development. Secretary Clinton highlighted that water security offers opportunities: for cooperation, collaboration, and for addressing challenges in a multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral way in order to reduce risks for potential conflicts and manage continued sustainable development and growth.

With this Analytical Brief, UN-Water aims to provide a starting point for discussion on the range of issues that collectively fall under the umbrella of water security, identifying the challenges that lay ahead, the necessity of relating water security to policy development, and offering possible options for responding to these challenges. It underlines the important role that cooperation will play in addressing water security challenges, including collaboration between different stakeholders and across all levels, from local to international. The collaborative nature of UN-Water Members and Partners on the Analytical Brief sets an example for cooperation across the UN System for addressing the shared challenges of water security.

The production of this Analytical Brief on water security is timely as the international community prepares for a post-2015 development world through the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, this Analytical Brief provides an important input into the discussion on the possible inclusion of an SDG on water, a process to which UN-Water is actively contributing.
It is my hope that the ideas outlined here will serve to stimulate further discussion on water security and underscore the importance of water security in addressing a multitude of challenges: from health to education, industry to ecosystems, human rights to economic development and growth; among so many others. This Analytical Brief offers one step towards ensuring that water continues to be included amongst our top development priorities as we move beyond 2015.

Mr. Michel Jarraud UN-Water Chair 22 March, 2013