Water Governance Webinar

Enhancing the water governance capacity for SDG 6  implementation 

24th March 8 am ( UTC)

Professor Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Osnabrück University


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been promoted by the UN in 2015 as setting the global agenda for a transformation towards sustainability in both developed and developing countries. The SDGs are formulated as seventeen individual goals. Despite being formulated as individual goals, in essence, they can only be achieved if interconnections are taken into account in policy formulation and implementation. In this respect, SDG 6 has a particularly prominent role. Due to its interconnected nature, water is the vehicle for transmitting threats from global climate and environmental change, and this delimits or enhances opportunities for economic growth and human development. Without sustainable management of water resource, neither food nor energy security can be achieved. Unfortunately, due to lack of progress SDG 6 targets will not be achieved by 2030.  The biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and their potential to deliver important ecosystem services is in decline worldwide. Many biodiversity targets (not only for freshwater ecosystems) that should have been achieved already in 2020 were clearly missed. Poor availability of data, a lack of political will and missing appreciation of the value of the ecosystems to humans are among the reasons for such unsustainable developments. Trade-offs between diverse water uses are not resolved and exacerbated rather than focusing on the identification of synergies.

Given this alarming situation, UN-Water has launched the Global Acceleration Framework. One major pillar of this framework relates to governance. The presentation will identify key governance challenges in particular regarding cross-sectoral coordination. Results will be presented from comparative case study analyses that highlight reasons for success and failure and requirements for sharing experiences across countries and regions.

The presentation will introduce an approach to identify trade-offs and synergies between diverse water uses and innovative governance solutions to overcome trade-offs and foster synergies. This approach is in line with a multi-dimensional perspective on valuing water – the theme of world water day 2021. Such a broad perspective taking into account the economic, environmental, social and cultural value people place on water is required to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and to pave the way towards a sustainable water future.

The webinar is facilitated by
Anik Bhaduri, Director, Sustainable Water Future Programme, Future Earth and Associate Professor, Griffith University
Chitresh Saraswat, Doctoral Researcher, Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University, Canberra