Each year, two million people are killed due to diseases caused by poor water quality and inadequate sanitation, and the health of millions more is harmed. Coastal oceans provide some 20% of the animal protein in the human diet, but are in a perilous state due to climate change and local degradation. These water problems will continue growing as world population climbs and climate change alters global water distribution patterns.
A critical factor contributing to the water crisis is the lack of indigenous capacity - educational, managerial, technological and institutional - for effective water management in many developing countries. UNU-INWEH acts as the "UN Think Tank on Water" and contributes to the resolution of the global water challenge through a unique programme of applied research and education. It conceives, develops, and manages water initiatives that help developing countries build their capacity for lasting improvements in human and ecosystem health, and overall reduction in poverty.
The United Nations University is not a traditional university in the sense of having a faculty, campus, or students. We respond directly to the regional and global water crisis and facilitate efforts to meet UN Development goals by providing a scientific evidence base. UNU-INWEH carries out its work in cooperation with other research institutions, international organizations, individual scholars, and scientists throughout the world.