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Environment & Poverty Times

UNEP/GRID-Arendal Box 183, N-4802 Arendal Norway

07 2012

Tel: +47 47 64 45 55 Fax: +47 37 03 50 50 E-mail:

ENVIRONMENT&POVERTY UNEP/GRID-Arendal A periodic publication by UNEP/GRID-Arendal


February 2012 20 pages

Contents Page 2–3

Water stress and water management More than 2.8 billion people are projected to face water stress or water scarcity by 2025. Are we head- ing for a freshwater crisis, and what can be done to prevent it?

Page 4–5 Industrial use of freshwater

The use of freshwater resources for industrial pur- poses is an area where there is ample room for effi ciency gains, and where improvements are now happening faster than in other regions of the world.

Page 6–7 Water for manufacturing

The use of water for manufacturing creates increased competition between water users and other demands. In many cases it can also lead to pollution and ecosystem degradation. There is a need for solutions to challenges such as water recycling, sanitation and water effi ciency.

Page 8–11

Water pollution and sanitation Water pollution and sanitation have huge repercussions both for local ecosystems and humans. We feature possible solutions, opportunities and creative action.

Page 12–13

Community based initiatives Community based initiatives focus on behavioural change needed to ensure real and sustainable improvements. The ideal is local solutions leading to improved sustainability.

Page 14–15

Water security Water security will soon rank with other main security concerns. The world community must elevate the issue of water for peace policy.

Page 16–19 Water security in Asia

Climate change, melting glaciers, contaminated water and water intensive industry and agriculture are some of the threats to water security in Asia in the future. But action is taken in local communities, by nations and regions.

Low carbon, smart solutions and green growth for sustainable water management in Asia

In the past decade the Asia-Pacifi c region has become the largest consumer of natu- ral resources in the world. This includes water, raw materials and energy resources. The East Asia Climate Partnership (EACP), an international development-cooperation project supported and facilitated by South Korea in cooperation with the UNEP Re- gional Offi ce for Asia and the Pacifi c, aims to address the challenges associated with the use of natural resources. The purpose of the partnership is to share thinking and strategies for green growth through practical approaches and technological solutions for a resource-effi cient and low-carbon future in East Asia.

EACP is fostering strategic alliances for green growth, developing a water manage- ment and capacity building platform for water accounting, and supporting demon- stration projects for waste management and wastewater treatment tools.

In 2012 the most vibrant, fast growing economies in the world are in Asia and the Pacifi c. At a regional and national level, many countries are working to decouple economic development from environmental degradation. There is mounting pressure on freshwater resources, which can be attribut- ed to greater economic and industrial activ-

ity, population growth, improved standards of living, and the effects of climate change.

Research has shown that improved resource- effi ciency and green growth, through more sustainable consumption and production, can help to decouple economic growth from environmental pressures. Research, busi- ness, civil society and government clearly all play a role in paving the way to a low carbon, socially inclusive and resource-efficient green economy.

Asia’s share of world material consumption grew from just under 25 per cent in 1975 to more than 53 per cent in 2005, accounting for nearly 85 per cent of global growth over a 30-year period. Energy use in Asia and the Pacifi c has grown too since 1970 at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 per cent, whereas the equivalent rate in the rest of the world was only 1.4 per cent.

The Resource Efficiency: Economics and Outlook for Asia and the Pacifi c initiative, launched in September 2011, highlights con- cern about the rate of water withdrawals in China, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. From 1985 to 2000 total water withdrawals increased by around 25 per cent in the region. Scenarios suggest that rising water extraction will put many river basins under severe stress by 2025

and that groundwater levels will continue to fall. UNEP and the other organisations behind the report estimate that per capita resource consumption of ‘materials’ in the region needs to be some 80 per cent lower than at present to achieve sustainable development.

The EACP partnership is addressing these dynamics by promoting green growth, in- novative integrated approaches and low carbon solutions.

Project activities have enhanced environmen- tal sustainability and better management of resources in recipient countries. These partnerships have successfully assisted countries in deploying green-growth and green-economy concepts by developing policy statements and national action plans on sus- tainable consumption and production. They have also identifi ed activities to encourage investment and public-private partnerships. With the green-growth attitude embedded, we may look forward to more investment and infrastructure, to low-carbon, green-growth technologies associated with water-resource management and development. This should contribute to new green jobs in the region.

Water resources are unevenly distributed in the region. With climate change increasingly causing drought and precipitation, enhanced

water effi ciency and management is a chal- lenge not only for direct water users, water managers and policy makers, but also for business and consumers. Access to clean water, reliable water accounting systems, and appropriate sanitation are essential to human wellbeing. It is consequently vital for Asia to build capacity and develop infrastructure for managing water.

Political leadership and commitment, backed by local project teams, are key to effective implementation. To bring about change, teams need a mix of technical staff, community representatives, policy-makers and private sector input.

This publication, which has been prepared as an EACP outreach activity, is a develop- ment-cooperation project supported by the Government of South Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and facilitated by UNEP. The aim is to share the green-growth paradigm in East Asia in order to enable sustainable economic development whilst coping with climate change.

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