Актуальные проблемы мировой экономики ХХI века
Freshwater challenge has become an integral part of international political agenda since the last decade of the XX century. Huge amount of people who suffer from different types of water stress (over 1,1 bln.) brought global community to include Improved access to water and sanitation as one of 4 major components of Sustainable environment Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) of United Nations. On July 28, 2010, UN General Assembly added a right for water in the list of basic human rights. Evolution of life standards in developed countries, rising concerns of poverty and inequality lead to rethinking of a wide range of global challenges, which were mostly ignored by world community before. Aggravation of water access problem, regional contradictions over water allocation and rising demand for higher life standards reflect both continuous escalation of water stress and higher ethics of global civil society towards lifestyle and inequality problems.
Before early 2000s, economic experts did not pay enough attention to water issues besides national water facilities, irrigation, hydro energy and urbanization problems. Beyond national frontiers water discourse resolved to draughts and deserts monitoring. All attention was concentrated on local measures aimed to prevent floods and droughts or manage sophisticated problems of allocation of scarce water resource in transboundary basins. As it seems today, water deficit has become a structural factor influencing world economic development. Access to clean water is in the focus of Sustainable development policy, water deficit becomes a constraint for economic growth in both developed and developing countries. At the same time world expenses for R&D in water management, investments in droughts and flood security are steadily growing. Energy efficiency in cities and especially megacities arises more heavily, state programs on modernization of irrigation systems multiply each year and arid regions in Asia, Europe and North America invest more and more in new desalination plants.