The United Nations World Water Development Report 2003

Water for People, Water for Life

image of The United Nations World Water Development Report 2003

WWDR1 is targeted to all those involved in the formulation and implementation of water-related policies and investment strategies, as well as to professionals at all levels. Although it offers a broad global picture, it focuses particularly on the situation in developing countries, where the need for better infrastructure and governance is highest. With this report, WWAP is aiming to show where systems are failing, and to provide the information needed for efficient and effective capacity-building throughout the world. This 1st edition of the WWDR laid the foundation for subsequent editions, concentrating essentially on evaluating what progress has been made, and not made, since the Rio Summit and on developing effective assessment methodologies. The Report encompasses a broad range of components, focusing on human stewardship of freshwater, that complex aggregation of policies, legislation, social programmes, economic approaches and management strategies through which we seek to achieve water sustainability.

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Recognizing and valuing the many faces of water

IN THIS CHAPTER WE DISCOVER THAT ‘VALUE’ is a multidimensional concept with many different meanings. The subject of valuing water is controversial and people get very emotional when they talk about it. Any discussion of value must therefore take into account people’s perception of the world and their cultural and social traditions, as well as economic considerations and notions of full cost recovery. This chapter thus touches upon a number of issues important for policy-makers: investment strategies, public-private partnerships in providing water-related services, the polluter pays principle, resource allocation, gender considerations, community participation, accountability and governance. From the examples below, it seems that there exist as many approaches to valuing water as there are societies and cultural settings, but there is a growing consensus around general principles.

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