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Task Force on Water Security

The notion of 'water security' is not new in the international development and water research community. Some of the earliest recognition emerged as part of the Ministerial Declaration of the 2nd World Water Forum in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 2000. National governments have been increasingly aware of the water-related security challenges, although these are typically viewed narrowly as a matter of national sovereignty and related to transboundary conflicts – either economic or armed. Further, the international community has had some difficulty in agreeing to a definition and description of water security that would suit everyone's perspectives, and often, vested interests.

Over the past three years, UN-Water has started addressing this definitional gap in a systematic manner. It has been duly recognized that water security must be described through a "working definition," which adequately addresses transboundary concerns while maintaining a focus on the individual, particularly in view of the UN General Assembly Resolution 64/292 that declared water and sanitation as a human right.

Given the increasing importance placed on water security and the international recognition by the UNGA of the individual need for water to ensure human security, UN-Water Task Force on Water Security was created to address these challenges in a timely and relevant manner.

Objectives

The primary aim of the Water Security Task Force was to produce an Analytical Brief on Water Security. The Analytical Brief will serve to:

  • Describe the broader set of issues that are of concern for overcoming the global water crisis;
  • Identify policy responses by the UN System as well as other actors to address water security challenges worldwide;
  • Create a space for dialogue in the international water community to encourage understanding and the need for concerted action.

The Analytical Brief defines the position of the UN system on water security and identifies avenues through which water security concerns can be addressed, including but not limited to the UN Security Council. Further, the Task Force serves to represent the perspectives of UN-Water Members and act as the liaison to the broader UN System and international community on matters related to water security.

Process

The Analytical Brief outline was presented at the UN-Water Meeting in August 2012 for further feedback, and finalized following the meeting. A first draft was presented at the end of October 2012, followed by an advanced draft at the beginning of December 2012.

Between September-November 2012, the Water Security Task Force identified peer reviewers through a nomination process. A final draft version of the Analytical Brief underwent a peer review process in December 2012-January 2013. The Analytical Brief was launched to the international community on World Water Day 2013.

Coordinating organizations and contacts

Harriet Bigas
harriet.bigas(at)unu.edu

Salmah Zakaria
zakaria8(at)un.org

External Links

Last update:07 Oct 2014