World leaders, governments and stakeholders from across the water sector convened in New York from 22-24 March to attend the historic United Nations 2023 Water Conference and make commitments to form the Water Action Agenda. This comes at a critical time when the world is facing a global water crisis and robust action is needed to manage, conserve, and protect water and improve lives. At current rates, progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) is off-track.
The newly released United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2023: Partnerships and cooperation for water report, which was launched at the conference, shines a light on how partnerships and cooperation can accelerate progress towards water sector goals and targets.
SDG 6 progress depends on partnerships and cooperation
WWDR is published by UNESCO on behalf of UN Water, incorporating the input and contributions of several other UN-Water members and partners, including UNEP. This year’s issue directly informs the UN 2023 Water Conference discussions, underscoring the role of partnerships and cooperation among stakeholders in water resources management and development, and their role in accelerating progress towards SDG 6.
The report explores partnerships and cooperation for water, offering recommendations to policy- and decision-makers on how to speed up and scale-up change through capacity development, data and information, innovation, financing, and governance.
UNEP-DHI partnerships in the spotlight
The report stresses that environment-related data form one of the most significant gaps in water-related knowledge, and partnerships are crucial in addressing the gap. The report cites the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme as an exemplary multi-level partnership under the guidance of UNEP and coordinated by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) in collaboration with UNEP-DHI and UNDP Cap-Net.
The WWDR also mentions the Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer as another example on how Partnerships are promoting progress in data and information availability. The Explorer is a data portal that provides accurate, latest, high-resolution geospatial information depicting the gradual progress of freshwater ecosystems to support decision-making and track progress towards SDG Target 6.6. It was developed by UNEP in partnership with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Google, the UNEP-DHI Centre on Water and Environment, Global Mangrove Watch, and the EU Copernicus Earth Observation Programme.
Partnerships and cooperation provide the world with an important opportunity to mobilize resources, experiences, and expertise in addressing the global water emergency. Building partnerships and increasing cooperation among water and general ‘development’ communities is critical for sustaining lives and ecosystems, while also unleashing collective progress