Water security is key to our collective future, yet many parts of the world today are deeply water-insecure. Progress on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 must accelerate with a sense of great urgency, given the pressing need for improved water and sanitation access in communities across the globe.
Climate security is also deeply intertwined with water security. As we enter in a new era of water risks, governments, businesses, and water users across sectors — as well as the global water science community — are not doing nearly enough to adapt and build water security for the 21st century. Fragmentation of water science and data, and poor water governance remain deeply problematic. Current water management methods, as well as underfunded water services and infrastructure, are often proving relatively inflexible in the face of intensifying climate change. Meanwhile, youth voices are too often excluded from important conversations about how to most effectively bridge the gap between science and water policymaking.
Without immediate and bold action, water security is set to worsen.
To strengthen the response to these pressing challenges, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is promoting the Transformative Futures for Water Security initiative. Over the past year, and through a unique process that included eight virtual regional dialogues and a global conference held this February in Cape Town, the initiative convened representatives from the private sector, water user and advocacy groups, research institutes, political entities, and youth networks to identify critical gaps and opportunities in water research, policy and action.