On World Water Day (#WWD2014), UCLG reaffirms that ensuring access to safe water is a top priority of local and regional governments, both as an end in itself, and as a driver of environmental sustainability, the empowerment of women, social inclusion, and poverty reduction.
As demonstrated in Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization report ‘Basic Services for All in an Urbanizing World’, to be published in June 2014, the provision of water is usually a local government responsibility. Well-resourced, empowered, and accountable local governments are therefore essential if the MDGs and the Post-2015 development goals concerning water are to be achieved.
However, it is also important to recognize the inadequacies of current global monitoring methods. While the MDG target of halving the proportion of people without ‘sustainable access to safe drinking water’ has been achieved, the definition of ‘improved’ water provision used includes public taps or standpipes, tube wells or boreholes, protected springs, protected dug wells or rainwater collection. Such methods are inappropriate in many local contexts, particularly in densely populated urban areas.
Over the coming weeks and months, UCLG will continue its ongoing knowledge-exchange and advocacy work on the issue of water policy and provision. The organization will co-organize a session with UN Habitat/GWOPA on water and cities at the World Urban Forum in Medellin on 8 April, and it will facilitate, in coordination with the World Water Council, the participation and involvement of local and regional authorities at the next World Water Forum, to be held in Daegu, Korea from 12 to 17 April 2015.