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United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992, "Earth Summit"

Chapter 18. Protection of the Quality and Supply of Freshwater Resources: Application of Integrated Approaches to the Development, Management and Use of Water Resources


- Part I -


Programme Areas

A. Integrated water resources development and management  

B. Water resources assessment  

C. Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems  

D. Drinking-water supply and sanitation  

- Part II -

E. Water and sustainable urban development  

F. Water for sustainable food production and rural development  

G. Impacts of climate change on water resources  


E. Water and sustainable urban development

Basis for action

18.56. Early in the next century, more than half of the world's population will be living in urban areas. By the year 2025, that proportion will have risen to 60 per cent, comprising some 5 billion people. Rapid urban population growth and industrialization are putting severe strains on the water resources and environmental protection capabilities of many cities. Special attention needs to be given to the growing effects of urbanization on water demands and usage and to the critical role played by local and municipal authorities in managing the supply, use and overall treatment of water, particularly in developing countries for which special support is needed. Scarcity of freshwater resources and the escalating costs of developing new resources have a considerable impact on national industrial, agricultural and human settlement development and economic growth. Better management of urban water resources, including the elimination of unsustainable consumption patterns, can make a substantial contribution to the alleviation of poverty and improvement of the health and quality of life of the urban and rural poor. A high proportion of large urban agglomerations are located around estuaries and in coastal zones. Such an arrangement leads to pollution from municipal and industrial discharges combined with overexploitation of available water resources and threatens the marine environment and the supply of freshwater resources.

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18.57. The development objective of this programme is to support local and central Governments' efforts and capacities to sustain national development and productivity through environmentally sound management of water resources for urban use. Supporting this objective is the identification and implementation of strategies and actions to ensure the continued supply of affordable water for present and future needs and to reverse current trends of resource degradation and depletion.

18.58. All States, according to their capacity and available resources, and through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, including the United Nations and other relevant organizations as appropriate, could set the following targets:

(a) By the year 2000, to have ensured that all urban residents have access to at least 40 litres per capita per day of safe water and that 75 per cent of the urban population are provided with on-site or community facilities for sanitation;

(b) By the year 2000, to have established and applied quantitative and qualitative discharge standards for municipal and industrial effluents; (c) By the year 2000, to have ensured that 75 per cent of solid waste generated in urban areas are collected and recycled or disposed of in an environmentally safe way.


18.59. All States, according to their capacity and available resources, and through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, including the United Nations and other relevant organizations as appropriate, could implement the following activities:

(a) Protection of water resources from depletion, pollution and degradation:

(i) Introduction of sanitary waste disposal facilities based on environmentally sound low-cost and upgradable technologies;

(ii) Implementation of urban storm-water run-off and drainage programmes;

(iii) Promotion of recycling and reuse of waste water and solid wastes;

(iv) Control of industrial pollution sources to protect water resources;

(v) Protection of watersheds with respect to depletion and degradation of their forest cover and from harmful upstream activities;

(vi) Promotion of research into the contribution of forests to sustainable water resources development;

(vii) Encouragement of the best management practices for the use of agrochemicals with a view to minimizing their impact on water resources;

(b) Efficient and equitable allocation of water resources:

(i) Reconciliation of city development planning with the availability and sustainability of water resources;

(ii) Satisfaction of the basic water needs of the urban population;

(iii) Introduction of water tariffs, taking into account the circumstances in each country and where affordable, that reflect the marginal and opportunity cost of water, especially for productive activities;

(c) Institutional/legal/management reforms:

(i) Adoption of a city-wide approach to the management of water resources;

(ii) Promotion at the national and local level of the elaboration of land-use plans that give due consideration to water resources development;

(iii) Utilization of the skills and potential of non-governmental organizations, the private sector and local people, taking into account the public's and strategic interests in water resources;

(d) Promotion of public participation:

(i) Initiation of public-awareness campaigns to encourage the public's move towards rational water utilization;

(ii) Sensitization of the public to the issue of protecting water quality within the urban environment;

(iii) Promotion of public participation in the collection, recycling and elimination of wastes;

(e) Support to local capacity-building:

(i) Development of legislation and policies to promote investments in urban water and waste management, reflecting the major contribution of cities to national economic development;

(ii) Provision of seed money and technical support to the local handling of materials supply and services;

(iii) Encouragement, to the extent possible, of autonomy and financial viability of city water, solid waste and sewerage utilities;

(iv) Creation and maintenance of a cadre of professionals and semi-professionals, for water, waste-water and solid waste management;

(f) Provision of enhanced access to sanitary services:

(i) Implementation of water, sanitation and waste management programmes focused on the urban poor;

(ii) Making available of low-cost water-supply and sanitation technology choices;

(iii) Basing of choice of technology and service levels on user preferences and willingness to pay;

(iv) Mobilization and facilitation of the active involvement of women in water management teams; (v) Encouragement and equipment of local water associations and water committees to manage community water-supply systems and communal latrines, with technical back-up available when required;

(vi) Consideration of the merits and practicality of rehabilitating existing malfunctioning systems and of correcting operation and maintenance inadequacies.

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Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

18.60. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $20 billion, including about $4.5 billion from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

18.61. The 1980s saw considerable progress in the development and application of low-cost water-supply and sanitation technologies. The programme envisages continuation of this work, with particular emphasis on development of appropriate sanitation and waste disposal technologies for low-income high-density urban settlements. There should also be international information exchange, to ensure a widespread recognition among sector professionals of the availability and benefits of appropriate low-cost technologies. The public-awareness campaigns will also include components to overcome user resistance to second-class services by emphasizing the benefits of reliability and sustainability.

(c) Human resource development

18.62. Implicit in virtually all elements of this programme is the need for progressive enhancement of the training and career development of personnel at all levels in sector institutions. Specific programme activities will involve the training and retention of staff with skills in community involvement, low-cost technology, financial management, and integrated planning of urban water resources management. Special provision should be made for mobilizing and facilitating the active participation of women, youth, indigenous people and local communities in water management teams and for supporting the development of water associations and water committees, with appropriate training of such personnel as treasurers, secretaries and caretakers. Special education and training programmes for women should be launched with regard to the protection of water resources and water-quality within urban areas. (d) Capacity-building

18.63. In combination with human resource development, strengthening of institutional, legislative and management structures are key elements of the programme. A prerequisite for progress in enhancing access to water and sanitation services is the establishment of an institutional framework that ensures that the real needs and potential contributions of currently unserved populations are reflected in urban development planning. The multisectoral approach, which is a vital part of urban water resources management, requires institutional linkages at the national and city levels, and the programme includes proposals for establishing intersectoral planning groups. Proposals for greater pollution control and prevention depend for their success on the right combination of economic and regulatory mechanisms, backed by adequate monitoring and surveillance and supported by enhanced capacity to address environmental issues on the part of local Governments.

18.64. Establishment of appropriate design standards, water-quality objectives and discharge consents is therefore among the proposed activities. The programme also includes support for strengthening the capability of water and sewerage agencies and for developing their autonomy and financial viability. Operation and maintenance of existing water and sanitation facilities have been recognized as entailing a serious shortcoming in many countries. Technical and financial support are needed to help countries correct present inadequacies and build up the capacity to operate and maintain rehabilitated and new systems.

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F. Water for sustainable food production and rural development

Basis for action

18.65. Sustainability of food production increasingly depends on sound and efficient water use and conservation practices consisting primarily of irrigation development and management, including water management with respect to rain-fed areas, livestock water-supply, inland fisheries and agro-forestry. Achieving food security is a high priority in many countries, and agriculture must not only provide food for rising populations, but also save water for other uses. The challenge is to develop and apply water-saving technology and management methods and, through capacity-building, enable communities to introduce institutions and incentives for the rural population to adopt new approaches, for both rain-fed and irrigated agriculture. The rural population must also have better access to a potable water-supply and to sanitation services. It is an immense task but not an impossible one, provided appropriate policies and programmes are adopted at all levels - local, national and international. While significant expansion of the area under rain-fed agriculture has been achieved during the past decade, the productivity response and sustainability of irrigation systems have been constrained by problems of waterlogging and salinization. Financial and market constraints are also a common problem. Soil erosion, mismanagement and overexploitation of natural resources and acute competition for water have all influenced the extent of poverty, hunger and famine in the developing countries. Soil erosion caused by overgrazing of livestock is also often responsible for the siltation of lakes. Most often, the development of irrigation schemes is supported neither by environmental impact assessments identifying hydrologic consequences within watersheds of interbasin transfers, nor by the assessment of social impacts on peoples in river valleys.

18.66. The non-availability of water-supplies of suitable quality is a significant limiting factor to livestock production in many countries, and improper disposal of animal wastes can in certain circumstances result in pollution of water-supplies for both humans and animals. The drinking-water requirements of livestock vary according to species and the environment in which they are kept. It is estimated that the current global livestock drinking-water requirement is about 60 billion litres per day and based on livestock population growth estimates, this daily requirement is predicted to increase by 0.4 billion litres per annum in the foreseeable future.

18.67. Freshwater fisheries in lakes and streams are an important source of food and protein. Fisheries of inland waters should be so managed as to maximize the yield of aquatic food organisms in an environmentally sound manner. This requires the conservation of water-quality and quantity, as well as of the functional morphology of the aquatic environment. On the other hand, fishing and aquaculture may themselves damage the aquatic ecosystem; hence their development should conform to guidelines for impact limitation. Present levels of production from inland fisheries, from both fresh and brackish water, are about 7 million tons per year and could increase to 16 million tons per year by the year 2000; however, any increase in environmental stress could jeopardize this rise.


18.68. The key strategic principles for holistic and integrated environmentally sound management of water resources in the rural context may be set forth as follows:

(a) Water should be regarded as a finite resource having an economic value with significant social and economic implications reflecting the importance of meeting basic needs;

(b) Local communities must participate in all phases of water management, ensuring the full involvement of women in view of their crucial role in the practical day-to-day supply, management and use of water;

(c) Water resource management must be developed within a comprehensive set of policies for (i) human health; (ii) food production, preservation and distribution; (iii) disaster mitigation plans; (iv) environmental protection and conservation of the natural resource base;

(d) It is necessary to recognize and actively support the role of rural populations, with particular emphasis on women.

18.69. An International Action Programme on Water and Sustainable Agricultural Development (IAP-WASAD) has been initiated by FAO in cooperation with other international organizations. The main objective of the Action Programme is to assist developing countries in planning, developing and managing water resources on an integrated basis to meet present and future needs for agricultural production, taking into account environmental considerations.

18.70. The Action Programme has developed a framework for sustainable water use in the agricultural sector and identified priority areas for action at national, regional and global levels. Quantitative targets for new irrigation development, improvement of existing irrigation schemes and reclamation of waterlogged and salinized lands through drainage for 130 developing countries are estimated on the basis of food requirements, agro-climatic zones and availability of water and land.

18.71. FAO global projections for irrigation, drainage and small-scale water programmes by the year 2000 for 130 developing countries are as follows: (a) 15.2 million hectares of new irrigation development; (b) 12 million hectares of improvement/modernization of existing schemes; (c) 7 million hectares installed with drainage and water control facilities; and (d) 10 million hectares of small-scale water programmes and conservation.

18.72. The development of new irrigation areas at the above-mentioned level may give rise to environmental concerns in so far as it implies the destruction of wetlands, water pollution, increased sedimentation and a reduction in biodiversity. Therefore, new irrigation schemes should be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment, depending upon the scale of the scheme, in case significant negative environmental impacts are expected. When considering proposals for new irrigation schemes, consideration should also be given to a more rational exploitation, and an increase in the efficiency or productivity, of any existing schemes capable of serving the same localities. Technologies for new irrigation schemes should be thoroughly evaluated, including their potential conflicts with other land uses. The active involvement of water-users groups is a supporting objective.

18.73. It should be ensured that rural communities of all countries, according to their capacities and available resources and taking advantage of international cooperation as appropriate, will have access to safe water in sufficient quantities and adequate sanitation to meet their health needs and maintain the essential qualities of their local environments.

18.74. The objectives with regard to water management for inland fisheries and aquaculture include conservation of water-quality and water-quantity requirements for optimum production and prevention of water pollution by aquacultural activities. The Action Programme seeks to assist member countries in managing the fisheries of inland waters through the promotion of sustainable management of capture fisheries as well as the development of environmentally sound approaches to intensification of aquaculture.

18.75. The objectives with regard to water management for livestock supply are twofold: provision of adequate amounts of drinking-water and safeguarding of drinking-water quality in accordance with the specific needs of different animal species. This entails maximum salinity tolerance levels and the absence of pathogenic organisms. No global targets can be set owing to large regional and intra-country variations.

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18.76. All States, according to their capacity and available resources, and through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, including the United Nations and other relevant organizations as appropriate, could implement the following activities:

(a) Water-supply and sanitation for the unserved rural poor:

(i) Establish national policies and budget priorities with regard to increasing service coverage;

(ii) Promote appropriate technologies;

(iii) Introduce suitable cost-recovery mechanisms, taking into account efficiency and equity through demand management mechanisms;

(iv) Promote community ownership and rights to water-supply and sanitation facilities;

(v) Establish monitoring and evaluation systems;

(vi) Strengthen the rural water-supply and sanitation sector with emphasis on institutional development, efficient management and an appropriate framework for financing of services;

(vii) Increase hygiene education and eliminate disease transmission foci;

(viii) Adopt appropriate technologies for water treatment;

(ix) Adopt wide-scale environmental management measures to control disease vectors;

(b) Water-use efficiency:

(i) Increase of efficiency and productivity in agricultural water use for better utilization of limited water resources; (ii) Strengthen water and soil management research under irrigation and rain-fed conditions;

(iii) Monitor and evaluate irrigation project performance to ensure, inter alia, the optimal utilization and proper maintenance of the project;

(iv) Support water-users groups with a view to improving management performance at the local level;

(v) Support the appropriate use of relatively brackish water for irrigation;

(c) Waterlogging, salinity control and drainage:

(i) Introduce surface drainage in rain-fed agriculture to prevent temporary waterlogging and flooding of lowlands;

(ii) Introduce artificial drainage in irrigated and rain-fed agriculture;

(iii) Encourage conjunctive use of surface and groundwaters, including monitoring and water-balance studies;

(iv) Practise drainage in irrigated areas of arid and semi-arid regions;

(d) Water-quality management:

(i) Establish and operate cost-effective water-quality monitoring systems for agricultural water uses;

(ii) Prevent adverse effects of agricultural activities on water-quality for other social and economic activities and on wetlands, inter alia, through optimal use of on-farm input and the minimization of the use of external input in agricultural activities;

(iii) Establish biological, physical and chemical water-quality criteria for agricultural water-users and for marine and riverine ecosystems;

(iv) Minimize soil run-off and sedimentation;

(v) Dispose properly of sewage from human settlements and of manure produced by intensive livestock breeding;

(vi) Minimize adverse effects from agricultural chemicals by use of integrated pest management;

(vii) Educate communities about the pollution-related impacts of the use of fertilizers and chemicals on water-quality, food safety and human health;

(e) Water resources development programmes:

(i) Develop small-scale irrigation and water-supply for humans and livestock and for water and soil conservation;

(ii) Formulate large-scale and long-term irrigation development programmes, taking into account their effects on the local level, the economy and the environment;

(iii) Promote local initiatives for the integrated development and management of water resources;

(iv) Provide adequate technical advice and support and enhancement of institutional collaboration at the local community level;

(v) Promote a farming approach for land and water management that takes account of the level of education, the capacity to mobilize local communities and the ecosystem requirements of arid and semi-arid regions;

(vi) Plan and develop multi-purpose hydroelectric power schemes, making sure that environmental concerns are duly taken into account;

(f) Scarce water resources management:

(i) Develop long-term strategies and practical implementation programmes for agricultural water use under scarcity conditions with competing demands for water;

(ii) Recognize water as a social, economic and strategic good in irrigation planning and management;

(iii) Formulate specialized programmes focused on drought preparedness, with emphasis on food scarcity and environmental safeguards;

(iv) Promote and enhance waste-water reuse in agriculture;

(g) Water-supply for livestock:

(i) Improve quality of water available to livestock, taking into account their tolerance limits;

(ii) Increase the quantity of water sources available to livestock, in particular those in extensive grazing systems, in order to both reduce the distance needed to travel for water and to prevent overgrazing around water sources;

(iii) Prevent contamination of water sources with animal excrement in order to prevent the spread of diseases, in particular zoonosis;

(iv) Encourage multiple use of water-supplies through promotion of integrated agro-livestock-fishery systems;

(v) Encourage water spreading schemes for increasing water retention of extensive grasslands to stimulate forage production and prevent run-off;

(h) Inland fisheries:

(i) Develop the sustainable management of fisheries as part of national water resources planning;

(ii) Study specific aspects of the hydrobiology and environmental requirements of key inland fish species in relation to varying water regimes;

(iii) Prevent or mitigate modification of aquatic environments by other users or rehabilitate environments subjected to such modification on behalf of the sustainable use and conservation of biological diversity of living aquatic resources;

(iv) Develop and disseminate environmentally sound water resources development and management methodologies for the intensification of fish yield from inland waters;

(v) Establish and maintain adequate systems for the collection and interpretation of data on water quality and quantity and channel morphology related to the state and management of living aquatic resources, including fisheries;

(i) Aquaculture development:

(i) Develop environmentally sound aquaculture technologies that are compatible with local, regional and national water resources management plans and take into consideration social factors;

(ii) Introduce appropriate aquaculture techniques and related water development and management practices in countries not yet experienced in aquaculture;

(iii) Assess environmental impacts of aquaculture with specific reference to commercialized culture units and potential water pollution from processing centres;

(iv) Evaluate economic feasibility of aquaculture in relation to alternative use of water, taking into consideration the use of marginal-quality water and investment and operational requirements.

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Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

18.77. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $13.2 billion, including about $4.5 billion from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

18.78. There is an urgent need for countries to monitor water resources and water-quality, water and land use and crop production; compile inventories of type and extent of agricultural water development and of present and future contributions to sustainable agricultural development; evaluate the potential for fisheries and aquaculture development; and improve the availability and dissemination of data to planners, technicians, farmers and fishermen. Priority requirements for research are as follows:

(a) Identification of critical areas for water-related adaptive research;

(b) Strengthening of the adaptive research capacities of institutions in developing countries;

(c) Enhancement of translation of water-related farming and fishing systems research results into practical and accessible technologies and provision of the support needed for their rapid adoption at the field level.

18.79. Transfer of technology, both horizontal and vertical, needs to be strengthened. Mechanisms to provide credit, input supplies, markets, appropriate pricing and transportation must be developed jointly by countries and external support agencies. Integrated rural water-supply infrastructure, including facilities for water-related education and training and support services for agriculture, should be expanded for multiple uses and should assist in developing the rural economy.

(c) Human resource development

18.80. Education and training of human resources should be actively pursued at the national level through: (a) assessment of current and long-term human resources management and training needs; (b) establishment of a national policy for human resources development; and (c) initiation and implementation of training programmes for staff at all levels as well as for farmers. The necessary actions are as follows:

(a) Assess training needs for agricultural water management;

(b) Increase formal and informal training activities;

(c) Develop practical training courses for improving the ability of extension services to disseminate technologies and strengthen farmers' capabilities, with special reference to small-scale producers;

(d) Train staff at all levels, including farmers, fishermen and members of local communities, with particular reference to women;

(e) Increase the opportunities for career development to enhance the capabilities of administrators and officers at all levels involved in land- and water-management programmes.

(d) Capacity-building

18.81. The importance of a functional and coherent institutional framework at the national level to promote water and sustainable agricultural development has generally been fully recognized at present. In addition, an adequate legal framework of rules and regulations should be in place to facilitate actions on agricultural water-use, drainage, water-quality management, small-scale water programmes and the functioning of water-users' and fishermen's associations. Legislation specific to the needs of the agricultural water sector should be consistent with, and stem from, general legislation for the management of water resources. Actions should be pursued in the following areas:

(a) Improvement of water-use policies related to agriculture, fisheries and rural development and of legal frameworks for implementing such policies;

(b) Review, strengthening and restructuring, if required, of existing institutions in order to enhance their capacities in water-related activities, while recognizing the need to manage water resources at the lowest appropriate level;

(c) Review and strengthening, where necessary, of organizational structure, functional relationships and linkages among ministries and departments within a given ministry;

(d) Provision of specific measures that require support for institutional strengthening, inter alia, through long-term programme budgeting, staff training, incentives, mobility, equipment and coordination mechanisms;

(e) Enhancement of involvement of the private sector, where appropriate, in human resource development and provision of infrastructure;

(f) Transfer of existing and new water-use technologies by creating mechanisms for cooperation and information exchange among national and regional institutions.

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G. Impacts of climate change on water resources

Basis for action

18.82. There is uncertainty with respect to the prediction of climate change at the global level. Although the uncertainties increase greatly at the regional, national and local levels, it is at the national level that the most important decisions would need to be made. Higher temperatures and decreased precipitation would lead to decreased water-supplies and increased water demands; they might cause deterioration in the quality of freshwater bodies, putting strains on the already fragile balance between supply and demand in many countries. Even where precipitation might increase, there is no guarantee that it would occur at the time of year when it could be used; in addition, there might be a likelihood of increased flooding. Any rise in sealevel will often cause the intrusion of salt water into estuaries, small islands and coastal aquifers and the flooding of low-lying coastal areas; this puts low-lying countries at great risk.

18.83. The Ministerial Declaration of the Second World Climate Conference states that "the potential impact of such climate change could pose an environmental threat of an up to now unknown magnitude ... and could even threaten survival in some small island States and in low-lying coastal, arid and semi-arid areas" (A/45/696/Add.1, annex III, preamble, para. 2). The Conference recognized that among the most important impacts of climate change were its effects on the hydrologic cycle and on water management systems and, through these, on socio-economic systems. Increase in incidence of extremes, such as floods and droughts, would cause increased frequency and severity of disasters. The Conference therefore called for a strengthening of the necessary research and monitoring programmes and the exchange of relevant data and information, these actions to be undertaken at the national, regional and international levels.


18.84. The very nature of this topic calls first and foremost for more information about and greater understanding of the threat being faced. This topic may be translated into the following objectives, consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

(a) To understand and quantify the threat of the impact of climate change on freshwater resources;

(b) To facilitate the implementation of effective national countermeasures, as and when the threatening impact is seen as sufficiently confirmed to justify such action;

(c) To study the potential impacts of climate change on areas prone to droughts and floods.


18.85. All States, according to their capacity and available resources, and through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, including the United Nations and other relevant organizations as appropriate, could implement the following activities:

(a) Monitor the hydrologic regime, including soil moisture, groundwater balance, penetration and transpiration of water-quality, and related climate factors, especially in the regions and countries most likely to suffer from the adverse effects of climate change and where the localities vulnerable to these effects should therefore be defined;

(b) Develop and apply techniques and methodologies for assessing the potential adverse effects of climate change, through changes in temperature, precipitation and sealevel rise, on freshwater resources and the flood risk;

(c) Initiate case-studies to establish whether there are linkages between climate changes and the current occurrences of droughts and floods in certain regions;

(d) Assess the resulting social, economic and environmental impacts;

(e) Develop and initiate response strategies to counter the adverse effects that are identified, including changing groundwater levels and to mitigate saline intrusion into aquifers;

(f) Develop agricultural activities based on brackish-water use;

(g) Contribute to the research activities under way within the framework of current international programmes.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

18.86. The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this programme to be about $100 million, including about $40 million from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by Governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for implementation.

(b) Scientific and technological means

18.87. Monitoring of climate change and its impact on freshwater bodies must be closely integrated with national and international programmes for monitoring the environment, in particular those concerned with the atmosphere, as discussed under other sections of Agenda 21, and the hydrosphere, as discussed under programme area B above. The analysis of data for indication of climate change as a basis for developing remedial measures is a complex task. Extensive research is necessary in this area and due account has to be taken of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Climate Programme, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and other relevant international programmes.

18.88. The development and implementation of response strategies requires innovative use of technological means and engineering solutions, including the installation of flood and drought warning systems and the construction of new water resource development projects such as dams, aqueducts, well fields, waste-water treatment plants, desalination works, levees, banks and drainage channels. There is also a need for coordinated research networks such as the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme/Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (IGBP/START) network.

(c) Human resource development

18.89. The developmental work and innovation depend for their success on good academic training and staff motivation. International projects can help by enumerating alternatives, but each country needs to establish and implement the necessary policies and to develop its own expertise in the scientific and engineering challenges to be faced, as well as a body of dedicated individuals who are able to interpret the complex issues concerned for those required to make policy decisions. Such specialized personnel need to be trained, hired and retained in service, so that they may serve their countries in these tasks.

(d) Capacity-building

18.90. There is a need, however, to build a capacity at the national level to develop, review and implement response strategies. Construction of major engineering works and installation of forecasting systems will require significant strengthening of the agencies responsible, whether in the public or the private sector. Most critical is the requirement for a socio-economic mechanism that can review predictions of the impact of climate change and possible response strategies and make the necessary judgements and decisions.



1/ Report of the United Nations Water Conference, Mar del Plata, 14-25 March 1977 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.77.II.A.12), part one, chap. I, sect. C, para. 35.

2/ Ibid., part one, chap. I, resolution II.

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