Freshwater ecosystems underpin all human social and economic activity. They are vital for supporting the web of life on Earth and need to be valued, conserved and restored.

The protection, management and restoration of freshwater ecosystems and water resources is fundamental to combating the triple planetary crises of biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change... yet they are also key to combating them. This forms the crux of the UNEP global Freshwater Strategic Priorities, which help to implement the Medium-term Strategy 2022-2025. While access to fresh water, in sufficient quantity, quality and

availability, underpins human life, health, well-being and dignity and is a human right, the ecosystems that provide this fresh water are under increasing threat. Freshwater ecosystems including inland water bodies such as rivers, lakes, wetlands and groundwater aquifers, and their biodiversity, are among the most threatened on the planet. They are also closely connected to other ecosystems along our coasts and in the ocean.

World map
Integrated water resources management data portal
Fresh water
Monitoring and Reporting portal

The work of UNEP on fresh water is led by the Freshwater Ecosystems Unit.