Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

Indicator 6.5.2 – Transboundary cooperation

6.5.2 Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation

Target 6.5 emphasizes the importance of transboundary cooperation – this page explains why and how to monitor progress towards the target, and what resources that are available for countries to do so.

Photo credit: Malik Naumann, Creative Commons Attribution

Indicator 6.5.2 tracks the percentage of transboundary basin area within a country that has an operational arrangement for water cooperation.

An arrangement for water cooperation is a bilateral or multilateral treaty, convention, agreement or other formal arrangement between riparian countries that provides a framework for cooperation.

For the arrangement to be considered operational, the following criteria need to be fulfilled:

  • Existence of a joint body
  • Regular, formal communication between riparian countries (at least once a year)
  • Joint or coordinated management plans or objectives
  • Regular exchange of data and information (at least once a year).

How to progressively monitor?

Data are collected through a template from the ministries responsible for transboundary waters, from all countries sharing such waters. The reporting is combined with that of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention).

Although the point of reference for indicator 6.5.2 is transboundary basins, the indicator is reported at the national level. In principle, the status of any given transboundary basin should be identical for all countries sharing that basin, which calls for coordination between these countries.



Most of the world’s water resources are shared. The development and management of water resources has an impact across transboundary basins, so cooperation is required. Regular communication and coordinated planning among countries sharing water bodies are examples of transboundary cooperation

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and UNESCO compile country data on indicator 6.5.2 and supports countries in their monitoring efforts.