Finance , Regional Process , Regional Process
The Sustainable Development Goals aspire to transform pathways for development, fairness and equity in the global economy and how nature and development co-exist. The dedicated Goal on water – SDG6, to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all – has brought a spotlight to water policy at global level and in national planning for SDG implementation. There are numerous UN-Water assessed that of 169 SDG targets, 59 have synergies with water and another 13 are in potential conflict with water targets. Integration of water is hence critical across the sustainable development agenda and the wider 2030 Agenda. In principle, water policies are well-equipped to meet the challenge of integration because of the evolution over decades – beginning with the adoption of the Mar del Plata Action Plan in 1977 – of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The importance of IWRM in the SDG agenda was foreseen in Target 6.5, which calls for implementation by 2030 of integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate. UN-Water concluded as a result that IWRM provides the framework for addressing the synergies and potential conflicts related to water among targets “by balancing the demands from various sectors [and stakeholders] on water resources, as well as potential impacts of different targets on each other, to form a coordinated planning and management framework.” Despite the vote of confidence that the global community has given to IWRM through the SDGs, IWRM in the 2030 Agenda faces a critical challenge. IWRM must deliver concrete outcomes at a larger scale and more quickly than it has achieved before. An updated and forward looking IWRM is needed. This will build on what has been achieved in past decades, but given the scope of SDG6 and the transformational vision of the SDGs, IWRM must rapidly become capable of delivering impacts that are counted in the billions of lives transformed.