The UAE Government has published a detailed discussion paper that calls for a decisive and coordinated international response to the urgent threat of global water scarcity. Entitled ‘Ripple Effect Water Scarcity – The hidden threat to global security and prosperity’, the discussion paper examines global water scarcity and its main causes, highlights various implications of water scarcity already evident in parts of the world, and identifies a range of potential solutions to this rapidly worsening issue.

Published by the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the sidelines of the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the discussion paper is intended to serve as a global call to action and an open invitation to members of the international community to work together in new ways to address the emerging challenge of global water scarcity.

Announcing the publication of the report, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: "Concerned by the growing problem of water scarcity and the severe risks that it poses to the world, the United Arab Emirates has published a discussion paper today that aims to contribute to the development of a coordinated international response to this issue, and the forging of new models for effective cooperation to address this multifaceted threat to global security and prosperity."

The discussion paper stresses that according to certain metrics, four billion people around the world currently experience water scarcity at least one month per year, with this figure expected to grow in the years ahead. It also warns that based on current trends, global water scarcity is projected to have a range of negative implications, including loss of life, food insecurity, economic underdevelopment, humanitarian crises, involuntary migration, geopolitical instability and the potential for armed conflict. Despite these potential scenarios, the discussion paper finds that global water scarcity does not currently receive the same levels of public attention and financial investment as other comparable risks such as climate change and future pandemics, thereby hampering the development of effective solutions.

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah added, “The UAE believes that the seriousness and immediate urgency of the threat posed by water scarcity has not been fully recognized around the world. As a result, the international community is lagging in its efforts to confront this challenge, with potentially grave outcomes. As it becomes increasingly clear that no nation will be immune from the cascading effects of unmitigated water scarcity, we must seek new ways to quickly and effectively cooperate in addressing this significant global issue.”

Expanding on the UAE’s commitment to addressing this issue, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah said, “As a nation on the frontlines of the impending water scarcity crisis, and as a longstanding advocate for international dialogue and cooperation, the UAE is determined to raise global awareness of this issue and to help mobilize a decisive and coordinated international response to the threat that it poses to humanity.”

The UAE Government’s discussion paper, ‘Ripple Effect Water Scarcity – The hidden threat to global security and prosperity’ can be downloaded in both English and Arabic from: