SDG 6
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Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world, an alarming figure that is projected to increase with the rise of global temperatures as a result of climate change. Although 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved water sanitation since 1990, dwindling supplies of safe drinking water is a major problem impacting every continent.

In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress – 10 of which are close to depleting their supply of renewable freshwater and must now rely on alternative sources. Increasing drought and desertification is already worsening these trends. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages.

Ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene at every level. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems such as forests, mountains, wetlands and rivers is essential if we are to mitigate water scarcity. More international cooperation is also needed to encourage water efficiency and support treatment technologies in developing countries.  

Goals in action

UNDP in Myanmar

Water in Myanmar's Dry Zone

In the Dry Zone, chronic poverty is directly correlated with the effects of drought and climate change. UNDP supports efforts to secure water resources and reduce food insecurity in the most vulnerable townships.. MORE >

UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Flood warning systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The 2014 flooding and landslides affected more than a million people. With the understanding that advanced warning saves lives, UNDP is helping to establish a flood forecasting and early warning system in the Vrbas River basin. MORE >

UNDP in Bhutan

The climate shifts. Bhutan responds.

Despite the susceptibility of Bhutan’s public health to climate change, the country has worked hard to strengthen its capacity to adapt to climate change. An important innovation of the Bhutanese initiative is linking climate data with epidemiological surveillance. MORE >

UNDP Global

Solar empowerment across countries

Reliable access to water is critical for farmers everywhere, but, for many in developing countries grappling with poverty, unemployment, insufficient infrastructure and environmental degradation, climate change brings additional pressure. MORE >