The sustainable management of freshwater resources has long constituted an international goal from the Mar del Plata Action Plan of the 1977 UN Conference on Water to the Millennium Summit, and to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Only recently, however, have experts recognized the need for a comprehensive assessment of the world’s freshwater as the basis for more integrated water management. The World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) was established in 2000 that year as a collective response of the UN system to assist countries in reaching their commitments in this area.

Hosted by UNESCO, UN-Water’s World Water Assessment Programme involves 23 UN organizations, along with convention secretariats, donors and other partner entities from outside of the UN system.

The programme consists of:

  • The World Water Development Report (WWDR), a periodic publication that reviews the world’s freshwater resources, provides decision makers with information tools for integrated water resources management and with case studies that illustrate different scenarios of how challenges are being faced in different parts of the world;
  • A capacity-building component, designed to promote the ability of governments to conduct their own assessment; an
  • A Water Information Network and Water Portal, which allows communication among with governments and water-related non-governmental groups, and facilitates capacity-building and awareness-raising about water.