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2023 Data Drive highlights the need for accelerated progress in IWRM

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2023 data live!

Explore the latest integrated water resources management (IWRM) implementation data (SDG indicator 6.5.1) through the IWRM Data Portal. The portal contains all country reports, summaries, and the full global dataset. Across three reporting cycles, 191 countries have submitted data on SDG 6.5.1, with 137 of these reporting in all three rounds. Initial findings indicate global progress towards IWRM implementation has increased from 49% in 2017 to 57% in 2023, but the world is not on track to reach the 2030 target (91%).

Monitoring IWRM implementation

Sustainable IWRM is essential for ensuring the long-term well-being of society, economy and the environment. This approach is designed to balance competing water demands from various sectors, thereby promoting a more harmonious and equitable use of this vital resource. In 2023, UN Member States assessed their progress towards IWRM implementation (SDG 6.5.1) as part of the third round of global reporting on SDG 6 indicators, coordinated by UN-Water through the Integrated Monitoring Initiative on SDG 6. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the custodian agency of indicator 6.5.1, with UNEP-DHI responsible for supporting countries to monitor and report, including through the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme. UNEP-DHI also supports UNEP with monitoring and reporting on SDG indicators 6.3.2 on ambient water quality and 6.6.1 on freshwater ecosystem protection (2023 data now also live).  

What is SDG indicator 6.5.1?

SDG 6.5.1 tracks the degree of IWRM implementation by assessing four key components of IWRM: enabling environment, institutions and participation, management instruments and financing. It does this through a self-assessed country survey, with inputs collected from national stakeholders. Survey results are used to track country progress towards SDG Target 6.5: “By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate”.  

SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme

During the 2023 data drive, the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme provided direct assistance to 67 countries on facilitating national multi-stakeholder consultations, to assess and report on their progress towards IWRM implementation, engaging over 4,000 stakeholders in the process.

The SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme assists governments in designing and implementing country-led responses to SDG indicator 6.5.1. The aim is to help countries accelerate progress towards the achievement of water-related SDGs and other development goals, in line with their national priorities. The Support Programme is coordinated by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) under the guidance of UNEP and in collaboration with UNEP-DHI and Cap-Net UNDP.

Initial findings from the 2023 reporting round and what’s next

Some common priorities emerging from initial analysis of country reports are: (1) strengthening institutional coordination mechanisms within and outside the water sector; (2) building institutional and technical capacity to carry out their priority work; and (3) increasing funding through improved revenue raising, national budget increases, and external funding from development partners, including climate financing.

A global progress report for SDG 6.5.1 is due to be launched in August 2024. Regional reports may be developed in collaboration with regional organisations on demand.

Figure: Level of IWRM implementation (SDG 6.5.1, 2023): countries with higher IWRM implementation are more resilient to multiple crises such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

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