2030 SDGs

Engaging with stakeholders in the time of a global pandemic

Photo:  Jameswheeler/Pixabay

By adopting the 2030 Agenda, all UN Member States committed to report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their respective targets. The second reporting round on SDG indicator 6.5.1 is taking place in 2020, with countries reporting on the progress of the degree of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) implementation. The UNEP-DHI Centre supports UNEP in this global reporting exercise, by supporting data collection and analysis on the indicator.

The global monitoring and reporting exercise for SDG 6.5.1 is undertaken in close collaboration with the Global Water Partnership (GWP) as part of the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme. The Support Programme assists countries to address water-related challenges in view of designing and implementing country-led responses to the identified barriers to better water management.

Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, a crucial part of the SDG 6.5.1 monitoring and reporting exercise was multi-stakeholder consultation workshops, usually held in person. However, since 2020 is marked by an unexpected global pandemic crisis, limited options have been available to engage with stakeholders in the traditional ways posing a real challenge to collect stakeholder inputs to the indicator assessment. Fortunately, many countries have managed to adapt quickly and make use of new means of communication media, such as virtual consultation workshops to collect the crucial stakeholder inputs.

Despite the extraordinarily challenging circumstances this year, more than 50 stakeholder consultation workshops have been completed so far, with many of these being conducted virtually. These virtual consultation workshops allowed for a rich dialogue on water-related issues in the countries, including identifying existing barriers and next steps in relation to the implementation of the IWRM.

The first country to pave the way to this digital transformation was Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago held two completely virtual consultation workshops in April of 2020. Another Caribbean country to follow suit was Grenada, with two online consultation workshops taking place in May 2020.  Subsequently, many more countries have taken steps to gather stakeholder feedback virtually, including Bangladesh, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Nepal, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Panama, Paraguay, The Philippines, and Senegal.

These extraordinary country efforts to collect stakeholder views and engage in the national dialogue, even under the constraints imposed by the pandemic, have confirmed the continued global commitment to the SDG 6, and furthering the implementation of integrated approaches to water management despite challenges along the way.

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UNEP-DHI Centre on Water and Environment

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