Integrating efforts towards Sustainable Development Goal 6

The policies and institutions that govern water usage are fragmented. This can hinder the efficient management of water resources and generate conflict between different users and uses. A new report shows how to join up approaches to Water Resources Management (WRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

The report Cooperation Opportunities for Improved Integration Across SDG6 proposes a framework for coordinating Water Resources Management (WRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). The paper, which includes examples and case studies, was published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility (WGF) in February 2023.

A strong separation exists between water for domestic needs, and water for other human and environmental needs. WRM and WASH have therefore evolved to become two distinct sectors and separate fields of policy implementation. The lack of coordination between WRM and WASH and the resulting institutional fragmentation impedes progress on Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
The report emphasises that WASH engagement with WRM on sustainable water use, source-water protection and pollution prevention is key to safeguarding water sources, both now and in the future.

The challenge is not to merge WASH and WRM, but to initiate and expand coordination mechanisms that respect expertise and diverging mandates. Looking for synergies and strategic opportunities for cooperation, the report advances pragmatic responses to institutional complexity with the aim of achieving more equitable and effective policy outcomes.

The report’s framework is structured around five joint outcomes and 18 cooperation areas that offer entry points for achieving the joint outcomes. WASH and WRM must be better aligned and cooperation needs scaling up. This will require commitment and strong leadership.

(UN Water/ile)

Read more and download the report on the UN-Water website

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