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The United Nations World Water Development Report 2016

Water and Jobs

image of The United Nations World Water Development Report 2016

Three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. In fact, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come, according to the 2016 United Nations World Water Development Report, Water and Jobs, which was launched on 22 March, World Water Day, in Geneva. From its collection, through various uses, to its ultimate return to the natural environment, water is a key factor in the development of job opportunities either directly related to its management (supply, infrastructure, wastewater treatment, etc.) or in economic sectors that are heavily water-dependent such as agriculture, fishing, power, industry and health. Furthermore, good access to drinking water and sanitation promotes an educated and healthy workforce, which constitutes an essential factor for sustained economic growth. In its analysis of the economic impact of access to water, the report cites numerous studies that show a positive correlation between investments in the water sector and economic growth. It also highlights the key role of water in the transition to a green economy.

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Policy responses

In conclusion, this chapter summarizes the report’s policy implications that arise from the water and jobs nexus. In order to achieve sustainable development based on a healthy environment and dependable water resources, along with a sound economy that offers opportunities for decent jobs, countries need to plan, regulate and invest – financially and otherwise – to ensure the sustainability of their water resources and ecosystems; help develop, operate and maintain water infrastructure; and plan, build and manage human resources’ capacity. Countries will thus also continue to be innovative while increasing their knowledge and building expertise.

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