Options for Decoupling Economic Growth from Water use and Water Pollution

A Report of the Water Working Group of the International Resource Panel

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As the World population approaches nine billion, nearly half of all people could suffer water stress by 2030 as a result of accelerating urbanization, new consumption habits and climate change. This report provides option for a viable and sustainable alternative; one that swaps economic growth fuelled by escalating water use and environmental degradation for a more durable model of social, economic and environmental resilience. If the world continues on its current course, by 2030, annual demand for water in North America and Sub-Saharan Africa could increase by 42 and 283 per cent respectively, compared to 2005 levels. That is why the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to decouple economic growth from water consumption and pollution by integrating water related issues across each of the 17 goals and making a specific commitment that “ensures availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”




This report has been produced for the UNEP-hosted International Resource Panel (IRP). It is the result of the efforts and cooperation of distinguished experts of the IRP: Kevin Chika Urama, Peter Koefoed Bjørnsen, Niels Riegels, Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, Jeffrey Herrick, Lea Kauppi, Jeffrey A. McNeely, Jacqueline McGlade, Eric Eboh, Michael Smith, ErnestNti Acheampong, Walter Pengue, Anna Bella Siriban-Manalag, and Mark Swilling. We would like to thank all for their invaluable contributions.


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