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Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world, an alarming figure that is projected to increase with the rise of global temperatures as a result of climate change. Although 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved water sanitation since 1990, dwindling supplies of safe drinking water is a major problem impacting every continent.

In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress – 10 of which are close to depleting their supply of renewable freshwater and must now rely on alternative sources. Increasing drought and desertification is already worsening these trends. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages.

Ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene at every level. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems such as forests, mountains, wetlands and rivers is essential if we are to mitigate water scarcity. More international cooperation is also needed to encourage water efficiency and support treatment technologies in developing countries.  

Goals in action


STRONGER TOGETHER: Exchanging ideas on managing the source of life

We can rediscover the beauty of our planet every day - if we just look in the right places. A smile around the corner, rice paddies that shimmer in endlessly varying shades of green, or a mountain range at the horizon. Lao PDR and Timor-Leste are two places to get inspired by the natural beauty of life, created and sustained by the simplest of elements, water. MORE >

UNDP in Iran

See How Six Communities Around the World Are Adapting to Climate Change

Under the umbrella of the United Nations Development Programme, the Equator Initiative supports the work of local and indigenous communities in creating sustainable development solutions worldwide. They have found innovative ways to combat the effects of climate change, and the Equator Prize—awarded to 20 communities this year—recognizes these efforts. This short from Perspective Film Production highlights the work of six of the recipients. MORE >

UNDP in Solomon Islands

900 ISLANDS 6 provinces, 1 project: Enhancing clean & climate-resilient water systems in the Solomon Islands

"The people in Tuwo" - a beautiful island community on Fenualoa Island, Temotu Province, Solomon Islands – "didn't know much about what climate change is, they thought a supernatural force was eating their coastline." MORE >

UNDP in Timor-Leste

Construction in Progress

Building resilience through climate-proof infrastructure in Timor-Leste MORE >

UNDP in Indonesia

Reza Rahadian and Eva Celia Bringing Water for Life in East Sumba

Reza Rahadian and Eva Celia as UNDP SDGs Movers visited Napu village in East Sumba to present the result of Bring Water for Life, UNDP Indonesia’s first crowdfunding campaign. The fund collected from the campaign is used to build a solar water pump in Napu by KOPPESDA, an NGO partner based in East Sumba, with supervision from UNDP Indonesia. MORE >

UNDP in India

Snapshot: UNDP in 2016

A quick recap of UNDP in 2016 in India. From rural housing, to skilling, Ganga rejuvenation, biodiversity conservation, governance and support to implementation of government schemes. Its been an exciting year. Take a look! MORE >

UNDP in Myanmar

Water in Myanmar's Dry Zone

In the Dry Zone, chronic poverty is directly correlated with the effects of drought and climate change. UNDP supports efforts to secure water resources and reduce food insecurity in the most vulnerable townships.. MORE >

UNDP in Maldives

AA Thoddo Watermelon Capital of Maldives

This video is about a Tourism Adaptation Small Grants Project in the island working on showcasing alternative methods which are safer for the environmental and human health. MORE >

UNDP in Bhutan

The climate shifts. Bhutan responds.

Despite the susceptibility of Bhutan’s public health to climate change, the country has worked hard to strengthen its capacity to adapt to climate change. An important innovation of the Bhutanese initiative is linking climate data with epidemiological surveillance. MORE >

UNDP Around the world

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