Water and Sustainability: A Review of Targets, Tools and Regional Cases

There is emerging interest by governments, international agencies, development practitioners and society-at-large in engaging in various initiatives of target setting to measure the impact of policy actions, assess development outcomes and evaluate aid effectiveness. In this light, Water and Sustainability provides an overview of water sustainability targets and selected tools and approaches to assist decision-makers improve performance and achieve results, with a view to ultimately meeting development targets.

Water and Sustainability focuses on three widely known systems of water sustainability targets: those set under the umbrella of the Millennium Development Goals; those established as part of the European Union Water Framework Directive; and the target-setting process for the 6th World Water Forum. The report also presents five cases to highlight some of the current practices being followed to set water sustainability targets.

The report aims to show that formulation and evaluation of water targets would be more effective if it were to follow a systematic analytical framework for results and performance monitoring – and it proposes one such framework for the purpose, a comprehensive definition of water targets specified by five attributes and fifteen analytical questions.

Attention then turns to tools, the report arguing that problems in water resources management and water services stem not from a lack of tools, but from the selection and application of appropriate ones to support decisionmaking on policies and investments. Diverse tools are reviewed – covering water resources management, water services and cross-sectoral approaches, as well as tools that are applied at country and project levels.

Water and Sustainability hopes to gain the attention and focus of policy-makers on water sustainability issues. It contends that leaders and specialists in water resources should work very closely with the ’out of the box’ decision-makers, who must learn to recognize water’s role in achieving their objectives to make better decisions.

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