Presenting target 6.5 on water resources management

By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
— 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

What and why?

Many different sectors are dependent on water; as a consequence, where water resources are limited, use conflicts arise. The commonly fragmented management of water resources is particularly inept at solving such conflicts and ensuring a sustainable use of the resource. As a response, target 6.5 aims for the implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) at all levels. The concept of IWRM seeks to promote the coordinated development and management of water- and land-related resources, in order to maximize economic and social welfare in an equitable manner, without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems.

Water resources are naturally confined in water basins, which, from an ecological point of view, is the most appropriate scale for water resources management. However, water basins often cut across administrative borders, calling for coordination and cooperation among several administrative units, including at the transboundary level. In target 6.5, this is reflected in the wording “at all levels”; the explicit mentioning of the transboundary level is related to the fact that most of the world’s freshwater resources are transboundary, and that coordination and cooperation across national borders, while necessary, can be especially challenging.

In the 2012 UN-Water Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to Water Resources Management for Rio+20, 65% of the participating countries reported on plans for IWRM in place at the national level, and in more than 50% of these countries, the implementation was already advanced. Some 54% of the countries reported on engagement in the implementation of transboundary agreements for specific basins. (Photo credit: Maria Schade) 

In the 2012 UN-Water Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to Water Resources Management for Rio+20, 65% of the participating countries reported on plans for IWRM in place at the national level, and in more than 50% of these countries, the implementation was already advanced. Some 54% of the countries reported on engagement in the implementation of transboundary agreements for specific basins. (Photo credit: Maria Schade)