Integrated Water Resources Management


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    The World Water Council has always recognized the important role of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in sustainable development and has supported it in the World Water Forum processes as one of the major themes in The Hague (2000), Kyoto (2003) and Mexico (2006). IWRM featured prominently in the Forums held in Istanbul (2009), Marseille (2012) and Daegu-Gyeongbuk (2015). The Council adopted ‘IWRM and Good Water Governance’ as an important initiative in its Strategy 2013-2015 and created a Task Force, the activities of which served to open dialogue on the needs of a future policy agenda for IWRM. 

    In 2013-2015, the Task Force reviewed experience with and critiques of IWRM from the past two decades, but focused principally on identifying how to create a forward-looking agenda for IWRM that would accelerate impacts from IWRM, at scale, on the state and sustainability of the world’s water resources. The work of the Task Force generated a discussion paper that served as input to a thematic session and a high-level panel at the 7th World Water Forum. 

    IWRM has been prioritised unambiguously by the global community in adopting the SDGs, with IWRM implementation explicitly identified as Target 6.5. In response, the WWC Task Force on IWRM will focus in 2016-2018 on how to operationalise IWRM in the 2030 Agenda. As assessed by UN Water in its report ‘Water and Sanitation Interlinkages Across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, operationalizing IWRM is critical for delivery across all targets of Goal 6, as well other water-related SDGs. The Task Force will develop a framework to guide innovation of IWRM policies in the 2030 Agenda at national and transboundary levels. Members of the Task Force will also support outreach to promote dialogue on updating the IWRM agenda through key platforms such as the Budapest Water Summit and the 8th World Water Forum, and updating of political messaging on IWRM in the 2030 Agenda. 

    The IWRM Discussion Paper from the 7th World Water Forum provides input to the work of the 2016-2018 Task Force.

    Actions and outputs projected in the 2016-2018 Strategic Plan

    Strategic actions

    • Work with governments and other partners to identify policy instruments to operationalise IWRM
    • Work with partners to galvanise the required political support for action on operationalizing IWRM at local, national and transboundary levels

    Main outputs

    • Reframed perception of IWRM to achieve change at scale, within and across sectors
    • Recommendations on modalities to accelerate operationalisation of IWRM at all levels.
    • Updated political messages on IWRM promoted through the 8th World Water Forum processes and events to support implementation of SDG6, particularly SDG 6.5, as well as other water-related targets.