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Water Management

Volume 597: debated on Thursday 25 February 1999

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What were the results of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development 1998 meeting on fresh water management. [HL1138]

The Commission on Sustainable Development reaffirmed that water resources are essential for satisfying basic human needs, health, food production, energy, the restoration and maintenance of eco-systems, and for social and economic development in general. It recognised the need for fresh water resources development to be planned in an integrated manner, aimed at locally appropriate, people-centred, sustainable development.It highlighted the importance of the management and use of water to contribute to the eradication of poverty and promotion of food security as a particularly important goal. The Commission recognised the important task for the United Nations agencies and programmes and other international bodies in helping developing countries to develop and implement their integrated water resources management, and protection, programmes and policies.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the commitment to "adopt a comprehensive framework that takes account of impacts of water use on all aspects of social and economic development" (

Eliminating World Poverty, Cm 3789, Panel 5, page 24) has been fulfilled. [HL1139]

The United Nations Programme of Action from the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 sets out priorities for fresh water in Agenda 21 Chapter 18. This highlights the extent to which water resources development contributes to economic productivity and social well-being. It recognised the paramount importance of the holistic management of fresh water as a finite and vulnerable resource, and the integration of sectoral water plans and programmes within the framework of national economic and social policy. The comprehensive framework emerging from Rio has been further developed through the Sixth Session of the Commission for Sustainable Development in 1998.The recommendations from these international fora form the basis for the Department for International Development's (DfID) integrated approach, in which water is considered to be a fundamental development issue linking with three DfID objectives (

Eliminating World Poverty, Panel 3, Page 24), contributing clearly to:

Sustainable livelihoods, in particular through water for food production;

Health, through improved water supply, sanitation and safer hygiene practices;

The environment, through sustainable management of water resources, use of water for ecosystem sand control of pollution.