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Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


The United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), formed in 2000 as an entity within the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is the lead agency for the UN-Water initiative. The WWAP monitors freshwater issues around the world in order to provide recommendations, develop case studies, enhance assessment capacity and inform the UN decision-making process on these matters. One of WWAP's key efforts is the creation and update of the World Water Development Report (Report)—a periodic, comprehensive evaluation of the state of the world's freshwater resources. WWAP now is working on the fourth edition of this report.

The last report was issued in March 2009 and was titled "UN World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World." This report provides significant detail about the state of freshwater resources, international demand on the same and how our changing environment is impacting how we use water and its overall availability. The Report is divided into 23 chapters and six parts including: setting the scene; a look at the world's freshwater resources; challenges to life and well being; management challenges: stewardship and governance; pilot studies: a focus on real world examples; and, management challenges: stewardship and governance. The 2009 Report can be viewed online at WWAP's website at http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/.

WWAP seeks public input and comment as the next Report is under development. The first two modules now are available for public comment including Module 1 (current status of the water resources) and Module 2 (managing water resources under conditions of uncertainty and risk). Comments may be submitted online until January 10, 2011 at the WWAP's website noted above. The fourth edition of the Report is scheduled to be released in March 2012 at the 6th World Water Forum.

The Report is part of the UN's "Water for Life 2005-2015" initiative to focus greater attention on the importance of monitoring the world's freshwater resources and developing recommendations for sustainable water supplies.