Thursday, 1 June 2017

SDG Knowledge Hub/Delia Paul: UN Environment Sets Freshwater Management Priorities in Five-Year Strategy


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1June 2017

By Delia Paul - Thematic Expert for Poverty Reduction, Rights and Governance (Malaysia/Australia)

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UN Environment has published its 'Freshwater Strategy 2017-2021'.

The publication outlines the areas in which the agency will be working with countries and partner organizations to achieve water-related targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UN Environment's priorities for action are water quality (target 6.3), integrated water resource management (IWRM, target 6.5), protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems (target 6.6), and promoting resilience and responding to water-related conflict and disasters (targets 11.5 and 16.1).

30 May 2017: The UN Environment Programme (UN Environment) has outlined the areas in which it will be working with countries and partner organizations to achieve water-related targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its priorities for action are water quality (target 6.3), integrated water resource management (IWRM, target 6.5), protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems (target 6.6), and promoting resilience and responding to water-related conflict and disasters (targets 11.5 and 16.1). The priorities are highlighted in the ‘UN Environment Freshwater Strategy 2017-2021,’ released on 30 May.

Besides providing global leadership on the four priority areas, UN Environment will also contribute its expertise to other freshwater issues, including: water use efficiency in agriculture and industries; environmental flows; transboundary basin-wide approaches to environmental assessment and management; reduction of marine pollution from land-based sources; and environmental management of deltas. The agency will also promote nature-based solutions as natural infrastructure for services such as flood protection and wastewater purification, and ecosystem approaches to understanding climate change impacts on the hydrological cycle. Source-to-sea linkages will be a focus in maintaining healthy aquatic systems for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and integrated assessments of land use and water resources.

UN Environment’s approach to implementing water-related aspects of the SDGs will be based on partnerships and support for strategic projects that can demonstrate what is possible, and can be replicated at various scales. The strategy document provides descriptions of several such projects. For example, its work on water in post-conflict and disaster zones has included brokering dialogue between pastoralists and farmers through shared “community visioning” processes as part of IWRM at the catchment level in Darfur, South Sudan; and the agency is working to improve urban water supply and rural livelihoods in the Lukaya River Basin of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The strategy also highlights UN Environment’s ability to draw on its experience as a global convener of many multilateral conventions, networks and assessments, and as a publisher of science-based publications that serve as a basis for decision making.

A mid-term review of the Freshwater Strategy is scheduled for 2019. [Report Web Page] [UN Environment Freshwater Strategy 2017-2021] [UN Water Press Release]
SDGs
6. Clean Water & Sanitation15. Life on Land17. Partnerships for the Goals
Issues
Biodiversity, Water & Sanitation, Integrated Water Resources Management, Transboundary Water, Water Quality, Wetlands, Ecosystem Approach, Agriculture & Food Security, Land, Disasters & Humanitarian Relief, Human Settlements & Population
Global Partnerships
Means of Implementation, Systemic Issues, Policy & Institutional Coherence
Actors
UNEP, UN Programme, Agency or Fund
Actions
Publication
Regions
Africa, Eastern Africa
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