As the world strives to achieve sustainable development by 2030, one critical area of focus is ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6). Experts estimate that by 2050, 5 billion people – more than half the global population – will live in water-stressed regions. Clearly, the world cannot wait, and one of the most effective ways to accelerate water action is the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). IWRM is crucial for long-term social, economic, and environmental well-being – the three important pillars of the 2030 Agenda.
When countries adopted SDG 6, they committed to reporting data on its seven indicators to the UN to track progress and ensure accountability. After two successful data drives in 2017 and 2020, UN Water is coordinating the third round of global data compilation on SDG 6 indicators as part of its Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG-6 (IMI-SDG6). The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is actively taking part in the ongoing 2023 data drive due to its role as the custodian agency of SDG indicators on IWRM (6.5.1), freshwater ecosystems (6.6.1), and ambient water quality (6.3.2). Due to its expertise in water management, the UNEP-DHI Centre is supporting the implementation of the global 6.5.1 reporting exercise, which measures the degree of IWRM implementation. Credible and timely data are essential to realizing SDG 6 and informing decision-making that allocates efforts and resources efficiently.
As part of UNEP and DHI’s commitments to advance the Water Action Agenda, the UNEP-DHI Centre supports progress in three ways:
SDG 6.5.1 reporting sheds lights on the barriers and promotes action to achieve IWRM implementation, which is crucial in ensuring equitable, sustainable, and efficient use and protection of water resources. The collaborative efforts of UNEP, DHI, and GWP in promoting IWRM and supporting the reporting processes for SDG 6 are imperative in advancing water action and closing gaps in water data. The role of such water partnerships and cooperation among stakeholders in IWRM is vital in accelerating progress towards water goals and targets.