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Global water challenges for sustainable development

The scale of the water problem is at the heart of all sustainable development debates in the world. Water is a comprehensive ecosystem service and equitable access to water for all is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Hundreds of millions of people are deprived of water, not because it is a rare commodity but because of poverty, social inequality and a lack of political commitment.

Drinking water and wastewater must be addressed within the frame of the millennium development goals (MDGs), particularly the ones aiming at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1), and ensuring environmental sustainability, which includes targets to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation (MDG 7) [WHO, 2006 #16].

The project entails looking at a wide spectrum of inter-linkages including opportunities and risks for human health, food production systems, livelihoods and poverty alleviation.