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Name World Water Assessment Programme
Logo Image:Header_delta_wwap.jpg
Geographic Scope Global
Subject Focus Expertise Management (supply and quality) of freshwater resources
Contact E-mail: wwap@unesco.org
URL http://www.unesco.org/water
edit  ·  AboutUN-Water
UN-Water Partners: AquaFed | The Global Compact | GWP | IAH | IAHS | ICID | IWA | IWMI | PSI | RAMSAR | SIWI | UNSGAB | WSSCC | WBCSD | IUCN | World Water Council | WWF
UN-Water Task Forces on WaterWiki: UN-Water Country-level Coordination TF
Key UN-Water Reports: Water Monitoring (Monitoring Task Force report - Aug 08) | UN-Water/reports
Related WaterWiki-resources: UN World Water Development Report | Water Monitoring
Key External Links: About UN-Water | About WWAP | World Water Development Report (WWDR)



This UN-wide programme seeks to influence leaders in government, civil society and private sector, so that their policies and decision making that affect water promote sustainable social and economic development at local, national, regional and global scales. WWAP also seeks to equip water managers with knowledge, tools and skills so - they may effectively inform and participate in the development of policies and in decision making - they may plan for, develop and manage water resources to meet the above objectives.

The Programme's objectives are to: • Monitor, assess and report on the world's fresh water resources and ecosystems, water use and management, and identify critical issues and problems; • Help countries develop their own assessment capacity; • Raise awareness on current and imminent/future water related challenges to influence the global water agenda; • Learn and respond to the needs of decision makers and water resource managers; • Promote gender and cultural balance; • Measure progress towards achieving sustainable use of water resources through robust indicators; and • Support anticipatory decision-making on the global water system including the identification of alternative futures.

Key Resources

Work on the Ground

No Results

World Water Assessment Programme

The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) monitors the world’s freshwater resources. WWAP provides recommendations, develops case studies, enhance assessment capacity at a national level and inform the decision-making process. Founded in 2000, it is the flagship programme of UN-Water and is housed in UNESCO.[1]

Its primary product, the UN World Water Development Report, is a periodic, comprehensive review providing an authoritative picture of the state of the world’s freshwater resources.


In 1998, the Sixth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development stated that there was a need for regular, global assessments on the status of freshwater resources. In response to this recommendation, the member organizations of UN-Water (known then as the ACC Subcommittee on Water Resources) decided to produce a World Water Development Report every three years, with an aim to reporting on the status of global freshwater resources and the progress achieved in reaching the Millennium Development Goals related to water.The World Water Assessment Programme was created to serve this purpose.


WWAP is the reporting mechanism of UN-Water. It produces the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) and related materials, policy papers based on the findings of the WWDR, and a series of side publications.[2]

One of WWAP’s objectives is to assist countries in enhancing their national capacity for water resource assessment. One of the ways WWAP does this is by facilitating the development of case studies and including their findings in the WWDRs. These case studies provide an in-depth analysis of the state of freshwater resources and related challenges that directly affect the livelihoods of people around the world.[3]

WWAP is the coordinating organization for UN-Water’s Task Force on Indicators, Monitoring and Reporting. [4]

The ‘From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential’ (PCCP) program contributes to WWAP and is housed within UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP). PCCP facilitates multi-level dialogue in situations where water users need support to manage their shared water resources in a peaceful and equitable manner. [5]


The World Water Development Report WWAP produces the triennial United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR), as well as, on request, recommendations resulting from the findings of these reports.

They present a comprehensive picture of freshwater resources in all regions and most countries of the world as it tracks progress towards the water-related targets of the UN Millennium Development Goals and examines a range of key issues including population growth and increasing urbanization, changing ecosystems, food production, health, industry and energy, as well as risk management, valuing and paying for water and increasing knowledge and capacity.

UN World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World (2009) The third and most recent edition of the Report, “Water in a Changing World”, was launched at the fifth World Water Forum held in Istanbul, Turkey in March, 2009.

Unlike the earlier Reports, which were structured along UN agency lines, “Water in a Changing World” took a holistic approach, addressing a number of themes through out the report, such as climate change, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), groundwater, biodiversity, water and migration, water and infrastructure, and biofuels. The Report has four main sections, apart from the introduction and the recommendations: “drivers of change,” “the use of the resource for humans and for ecosystems,” “the state of the resource,” and “responding to a changing world: what are the options?”

Case Studies: The third Report is accompanied by the first stand-alone volume of WWAP case studies, titled "Facing the Challenges", which includes 20 studies from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Latin America, where conditions of water-related stress and socio-economic settings vary widely. Case studies include the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Spain), Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, the Cholistan desert (Pakistan), Estonia, the Han River basin (Republic of Korea), Istanbul (Turkey), the Lake Merín basin (Brazil and Uruguay), La Plata River basin (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), the Netherlands, Pacific island states, the Po River basin (Italy), Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, the Vuoksi River basin (Finland and the Russian Federation) and Zambia.[6]

Links to Report and related materials:

UN World Water Development Report 2: Water: A Shared Responsibility (2006)

The second WWDR, “Water: A Shared Responsibility,” was presented in 2006 at the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City, Mexico. Building on the conclusions of the first WWDR, the Report provides an assessment of freshwater resources in all regions and most countries of the world as it tracks progress towards the water-related targets of the UN Millennium Development Goals. It examines a range of key issues including population growth and increasing urbanization, changing ecosystems, food production, health, industry and energy, as well as risk management, valuing and paying for water and increasing knowledge and capacity. Sixteen case studies look at typical water resource challenges and provide valuable insights into different facets of the water crisis and management responses. Finally, the report outlines a set of conclusions and recommendations to guide future action and encourage sustainable use, productivity and management of our increasingly scarce freshwater resources.

Case studies: The second Report contains 16 case studies, including the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Spain), the Danube River Basin (Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine), Ethipoia, France, Japan, Kenya, Lake Peipsi (Estonia and the Russian Federation), Lake Titicaca (Peru and Bolivia), Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, the La Plata River Basin (Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay), South Africa and Sri Lanka.[7]

Links to report and related materials:

UN World Water Development Report 1: Water for People, Water for Life (2003)

The first UN World Water Development Report, called “Water for People, Water for Life” was presented at the third World Water Forum in Japan in 2003. The Report provides an assessment of the globe’s water crisis; reviews progress and trends; proposes methodologies and indicators for measuring sustainability; assesses progress in 11 challenge areas (health, food, environment, shared water resources, cities, industry, energy, risk management, knowledge, valuing water and governance); and, presents seven pilot case studies of river basins representing various social, economic and environmental settings.

Case Studies: The first Report looked at seven case studies, including the Chao Phraya River basin (Thailand), Greater Tokyo (Japan), Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe-Pskovskoe (Estonia, Russian Federation), Lake Titicaca basin (Bolivia, Peru), Ruhuna basins (Sri Lanka), Seine-Normandy basin (France), and the Senegal River basin (Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal).[8]

Links to report and related materials:

The fourth edition of the report, or WWDR4, is currently under preparation and it will be published in 2012.

Other publications

Side Publications series

These publications provide more focused, in-depth information and scientific background knowledge on the world’s water issues, and a closer look at some less conventional water sectors. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr3/side_publications.shtml

See Also


  1. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap
  2. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/
  3. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr3/case_studies/
  4. http://www.unwater.org/TFindicators.html
  5. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/pccp/
  6. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr3
  7. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr2
  8. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr1

See also

External Resources


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