Catalyzing Water for Sustainable Development and Growth was launched on 27 November at UN headquarters in New York. This independent report looks at the role of water in post-2015 development, providing an evidence-based analysis of options to incorporate water in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It takes stock of how water relates to social and economic development, how it figured in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and what this means for the response to global water challenges after 2015. The report examines the investments required to provide water for sustainable development and inclusive economic growth, and what some of the implementation challenges and opportunities might be.
“One of the key messages is the need to move away from a narrow sectoral approach to water and to recognize the many ways in which water contributes to and enables development. As it makes clear, the SDG framework should reflect the many interlinkages between different development objectives,” said SEI Research Associate Nina Weitz, a member of the expert group behind the report.
While implementing the anticipated water-related SDGs would be costly – between US$840 billion $1.8 trillion per year (1.8–2.5% of annual global GDP) – the expert group calculated that this would be far outweighed by at least $3,108 billion in additional benefits in the form of direct economic returns, livelihood creation, health system savings and the preservation of ecosystem services, among others.
SEI Executive Director Johan L. Kuylenstierna, also a member of the expert group, said, “The multitude of proposals for incorporating water into the SDGs illustrate our growing awareness of its importance as a natural resource. This report performs an important function in summarizing and evaluating those proposals, and showing what they could mean for development. In particular, the analysis highlights the value of investing in water.”