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The UN is looking to nature for solutions to manage water better to meet the demands of a growing global population and climate change.

The UN’s annual ‘World Water Development Report 2018’, underlines that working closely with nature to support a “resource-efficient and competitive circular economy”, could be achievable.

Climate Action Programme explained that this will entail mimicking natural processes such as soil moisture retention, building large new wetland areas, and restoring floodplains or green roofs. Read more: Biomimicry: Learn from nature’s genius

Water management solutions

Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, which worked on the study, explained: “We need new solutions in managing water resources so as to meet emerging challenges to water security caused by population growth and climate change. If we do nothing, some five billion people will be living in areas with poor access to water by 2050.

“This Report proposes solutions that are based on nature to manage water better. This is a major task all of us need to accomplish together, responsibly so as to avoid water related conflicts.” Listen to the on demand water webinar here.

The report notes that through incorporating techniques found in nature, it can have environmental, social and economic benefits and help achieve the vital Sustainable Development Goals into the 2020s.

Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, commented: “For too long, the world has turned first to human-built, or “grey”, infrastructure to improve water management. In so doing, it has often brushed aside traditional and Indigenous knowledge that embraces greener approaches.

“Three years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is time for us to re-examine nature-based solutions to help achieve water management objectives.”

Download the full report here.