UN-Habitat's Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos on Monday announced the launch of a new Global Consultation on Wastewater Management and Water Quality for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

"The global population is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050 with majority of growth expected in developing country urban areas with inadequate infrastructure. The pace of urbanization is a critical issue. The management of all forms of water and especially waste water is often conveniently forgotten in the political debate while in reality it is a time bomb waiting to explode," Dr. Clos said.

In a televised statement he also said that with current extreme climate events, contaminated water is likely to constitute an increasingly important risk to public health and a threat to recovery from disaster.

"A new emphasis should be placed the on prevention of wastewater as a critical component in order to ensure efficiency of the water cycle," Dr. Clos said. "This is best done by reducing the consumption of water to acceptable levels and by reducing the amount of harmful pollutants entering the water system."

UN-Habitat will lead the consultation, as part of the Thematic Consultation on Water, to discuss the role of wastewater management and water quality for global development goals after 2015. The consultation will solicit views from people at all levels key priorities in this area.

The consultation is taking place as an online debate on the World We Want 2015 website from 14 January - 17 February. It will culminate with a high-level meeting on the Post-2015 Development Agenda on Water: Water Resources Management and Wastewater Management & Water Quality in Geneva from 27 - 28 February.

In addition to the website, the consultation is also taking place on twitter using the handle @waterpost2015 or hashtags #wastewater2015 and #waterpost2015 and the Facebook-page http://www.facebook.com/waterpost2015.

The consultation will feature a range of online resources, such as video messages, live streams, weekly discussion questions and various thematic documents and position papers, aimed at generating a public debate.

As the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals approaches, the United Nations system is leading a number of global dialogues on important future development matters. The Water Consultation is one of eleven consultations covering various development topics.