UN World Water Development Report 2021: Valuing Water

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UN World Water Development Report 2021

This notable publication is the UN-Water’s report on water security and sanitation issues. This report “gives insight on main trends concerning the state, use, and management of freshwater and sanitation, based on work done by the UN-Water members and partners.”

Besides, it offers best practices and in-depth analyses to stimulate ideas and actions for better stewardship in the water sector and beyond. Initially, it was a triennial report. That version provided an overview of the state, uses, and management of the world’s freshwater resources. The current status is an annual, more brief publication that is increasingly facts-based and has a more specific thematic focus.

Traditional economic accounting has often been a necessary means of informing policy decisions but tending to limit water values to how most other products are valued – using water’s recorded price or costs when economic transactions occur. However, there is no clear relationship between its price and its value. Nevertheless, the different water values need to be reconciled, and the trade-offs between them need to be incorporated into systematic and inclusive planning and decision-making processes. Therefore, the way forward will be to develop common approaches to valuation to prioritize improved methods to compare, contrast and merge different values, and incorporate conclusions into policy and planning.

The 2021 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report entitled ‘Valuing Water’ gathers current methodologies and approaches to valuing water into five interrelated perspectives and with experiences from different global regions, opportunities to reconcile water values through holistic approaches to governance and financing, and methods to address knowledge, research, and capacity needs.