The demand for freshwater is increasing worldwide. The United Nations estimates that it will surpass the available water supply by 40% by 2030. World population growth, progressing climate change and environmental pollution are just a few of the factors which are constantly driving up pressure on available water resources. And increasing water scarcity can fuel or exacerbate conflicts. At the same time, billions of people are still denied access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, on the occasion of World Water Day on 22 March, will raise awareness of this reality.
The FDFA has been active on water since the early days of Switzerland’s development cooperation work – ensuring access to clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene, promoting integrated and sustainable water management, protecting water from pollution, and mediating between riparian states with a view to the peaceful and sustainable use of cross-border water resources. Switzerland has long contributed to developing solutions for water-related challenges, building up considerable expertise in this field. To this end, Switzerland is making joined-up use of all three of its international development instruments – humanitarian aid, long-term development cooperation, and peacebuilding. To ensure synergy between these instruments and the multifaceted measures involved, the Guidelines on Water 2022–25 will set out the principles, areas of action, and priorities guiding Switzerland's work.
The Guidelines substantiate the corresponding principles of the Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23 as well as those of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24, as part of Switzerland’s cascade of core foreign policy documents. This increased coherence will make an important contribution to the effectiveness of Switzerland’s international cooperation efforts in the water sector, particularly for the Global South.
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