11 Heads of State call for fundamental shift in the way water is valued
The High Level Panel on Water calls for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages and values water. Its ‘Principles on Valuing Water,’ endorsed by, and developed with input from SIWI, reflect water’s deep connections that cannot be measured solely in monetary terms.
The High Level Panel on Water, consisting of 11 Heads of State and a Special Advisor, has issued a New Agenda for Water Action calling for a fundamental shift in the way the world values water. In its report Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action, the Panel presents several recommendations for changing the way the world understands, values, and manages water.
One of the recommendations is to use its Principles on Valuing Water to sustainably allocate and manage water resources, and to deliver and price water services accordingly. These Principles were developed with support from SIWI and assist in aligning water management to societal needs and preferences.
“The ecosystems on which life itself is based – our food security, energy sustainability, public health, jobs, cities – are all at risk because of how water is managed today,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.
With increasing scarcity, we must recognize the many values attached to water, be it economic, social, environmental, cultural or religious. I believe that by re-valuing water, we will develop a deeper understanding and respect for this precious resource, and thus be better prepared for more efficient use.
Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, SIWI
The work of this panel took place at the level of heads of state and government because the world can no longer afford to take water for granted.”
The Panel advocates for evidence-based policies and innovative approaches at the global, national and local level to make water management and water and sanitation services attractive for investment and more disaster-resilient. It also calls for policies that will allow for at least a doubling of investment in water infrastructure over the next five years.
In an open letter, the Panel writes: “The social, cultural, economic and environmental values of water to society need to be re-assessed. Water needs to be allocated in ways which maximize overall benefits to our societies”.
“With increasing scarcity, we must recognize the many values attached to water, be it economic, social, environmental, cultural or religious. I believe that by re-valuing water, we will develop a deeper understanding and respect for this precious resource, and thus be better prepared for more efficient use,” said SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren.
The report also sets forth a new approach to catalyze change, and build partnerships and cooperation, outlining why an integrated and inclusive approach that draws in sectors like agriculture, and other stakeholders, such as city mayors, is needed.
SIWI is helping to scale the valuing water initiative through the Valuing Water Leadership Coalition (VWLC) initiative. The initiative will embrace the HLPW Principles on Valuing Water to inspire change and innovation in policies and practices in countries, cities, sectors, producers, consumers and individuals, and guide investments for sustainable and socially preferred water use and management.
The High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) – to which SIWI is a supporting expert organization – is an initiative that aims to mobilize global support for the implementation of the water-related SDGs. It was launched in April 2016 by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.