Paris, 3 Mar -- To mark World Water Day on 22 March, UNESCO and UN-Water have released the latest edition of the UN World Water Development Report. The report warns that without greater international cooperation in these areas, water scarcity will worsen in the coming decades, with urban areas becoming more acute.

The report, published by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water, notes that 20 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water and 46.20 billion lack well-managed sanitation; Between 30 billion and <> billion people experience water scarcity for at least one month a year, posing serious risks to their livelihoods.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said we urgently need to establish strong international mechanisms to prevent the global water crisis from spiraling out of control. Water is our common future, and we must act together to share water equitably and manage it sustainably.

Houngbo, President of UN-Water and Director-General of the International Labour Organization, said that we have many tasks but limited time. This report demonstrates our ambition, and we must now unite and accelerate the pace of action. It's time for a change.

Almost all water-related interventions involve some kind of collaboration, the report says. Crop cultivation requires shared irrigation systems among farmers; Safe and affordable water supply in urban and rural areas depends on co-management of water supply and sanitation systems; Cooperation between these urban and rural communities is essential to maintain food security and safeguard farmers' incomes. The United Nations has called for greater international cooperation on how water resources are used and managed. This is the only way to prevent a global water crisis in the coming decades.

Mexico's Monterrey Water Fund, launched in 2013, has conserved water quality, reduced flooding, improved infiltration and restored natural habitats through co-financing. Similar approaches have been successful in sub-Saharan Africa, including the Tana-Nairobi River basin, which supplies 95 per cent of Nairobi's fresh water and Kenya's 50 per cent of its electricity. These examples attest to the global potential of such partnerships.

The United Nations World Water Development Report is published by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water and its preparation is coordinated by the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme. Building on the work of UN-Water members and partners, the report provides an in-depth analysis of key trends in the status, use and management of freshwater and sanitation. Published annually on World Water Day, the report provides decision-makers with the knowledge and tools they need to develop and implement sustainable water policies. (End)