The journey to achieving fair water footprints for climate resilient, inclusive, and sustainable development

Published on 5 October 2021

The global water crisis is exacerbated by climate change and poorer quality water – along with less of it – are two major impacts. We must adapt our use and approaches to this finite resource and meet global goals. Yet action on water adaptation, which we have also seen in Covid-19 recovery, is not keeping pace with the speed and scale of climate change.

Many countries are making this water crisis worse by purchasing products made in developing countries – such as food, clothing, and even electric vehicles – that use scarce water sources and contaminate water supplies. Businesses and their investors are at the heart of this and together with government and civil society, they are the key to solving this problem.

Over 40% of Europe’s water footprint lies outside its border and for example 50% of the UK’s footprint is from unsustainable sources. The moral case for rapid action to ensure that our water footprint is sustainable and resilient is clear. This action can only succeed in partnership with producer countries and through engagement with companies.

Here are key events and relevant resources along this journey to reach the shared goal of fair water footprints by 2030 for climate resilient, inclusive, and sustainable development:

Reading Pack

Tackling the Global Water Crisis: The Role of Water Footprints and Water Stewardship
Dr Nick Hepworth, Water Witness
August 2021
An introduction to the issues involved in water footprints and water stewardship.


How Fair is Your Water Footprint?
Water Witness
25 August 2021

Towards sustainable and fair water footprints: A global call to action for COP26
Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith
26 August 2021


SIWI World Water Week session on Accelerating Water and Climate Action at COP26

24 August 2021
Introduced by the Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith and chairs by Dutch International Water Envoy, Henk Ovink, this session initiated a dialogue between consumer and producer country representatives, from government, business and civil society, with the aim of launching a partnership at COP26 to increase sustainable water use sand climate resilience, globally. The event summary can be found here, whilst the event illustration can be seen below.

World Water Week IllustrationTowards sustainable and fair water footprints: Forging a global action partnership for launch at COP26

Chatham House Workshop
5 October 2021
This event will convene representatives from government, business, civil society, and other stakeholders, and is part of an ambitious process that will lead to the launch of a jointly owned Declaration on Fair Water Footprints for Climate Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Development at COP26 in Glasgow.



Supported by
UK Aid


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