Aquatic ecosystems matter. Human wellbeing depends on the products and services they provide. But historically, development has largely ignored this dependency, economic and social development was given priority, and any environmental problems that occurred would be cleaned up later. Today, as populations expand, livelihoods improve, and the demand for fresh water increases, we have become much more aware of the limited capacity of our natural environment and aquatic ecosystems, which sustain the services we have come to rely on.
This paper argues that the 2015 UN Development Agenda, which promotes integration among all water and water-using sectors, offers a timely opportunity to view, value, and manage aquatic ecosystems as an integral part of water security planning.