Water and Agenda 2030

Water is crucial for advancing human rights, reducing poverty and inequality, and enabling peace, justice and sustainability. SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation therefore provides a unique opportunity to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda. Mainstreaming water in the national and subnational planning of other sectors is critical for increasing policy coherence and effectiveness, for optimizing the use of limited resources available to implement the 2030 Agenda, and for integrating strategies to end poverty.

WWAP supports the consideration of water as a key cross-cutting issue to achieve the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. To this aim, WWAP has supported the development of Regional Policy Papers evaluating the links between SDG 6 and the SDGs under review at the 2019 UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The SDGs under HLPF review in 2019 are SDGs 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (means of implementation and partnerships). Regional Policy Papers have been developed for Africa, the Arab region and Latin America and the Caribbean, with support from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, UNESCO Regional Offices, UN Economic Commissions and UN-Water. The Regional Policy Papers include findings and policy recommendations to support the inclusion of water in planning across sectors and at all scales. The findings and policy recommendations of the three Regional Policy Papers are summarized in a Policy Brief and in two-page highlights for each of the three regions. These evaluations were presented in side-events at the 2019 High-level Political Forum (HLPF).

More on water as a cross-cutting factor in the SDGs under review at the HLPF 2019 in:

WWAP has equally undertaken an analysis of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) presented to the HLPF 2019 to assess how countries were taking water into account when reporting on implementation of Agenda 2030.

Water in the 2030 Agenda: How can Europe act?

WWAP has jointly designed and developed this Water Europe publication whose objective is to advocate for the role that the European Union, the European Commission and the European Water Sector actors had and should continue to have, to contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 6 and other water-related targets.  In the publication WWAP presents the challenges related to water sustainability at global level. The relation to EU priority issues like inequalities, job creation and migration has been considered throughout.

More information

SDG 6 Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation

©United Nations

The UN-Water SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 provides an overview of the status of SDG 6 implementation at the global and regional levels, as well as some comprehensive information about how SDG 6 is interlinked to other SDG targets and indicators of the Agenda 2030 and the overall sustainability challenges that nations around the world are faced with.

By summarizing the progress towards the achievement of SDG 6, this report provides Member States with the ‘big picture’ on water and sanitation issues, outlining ways to accelerate progress towards this goal. This will enable countries to develop a roadmap towards a more sustainable development, for which water is critical in many regards.

Public dialogue

The main findings of this report have been discussed in a multi-stakeholder setting, through an online forum.

On the whole, the feedback received was very positive, the comments said that the Report is “consistent”, “covered all issues” and “comprehensive”, a “great synthesis”, and a fantastic starting point to discuss the implementation of SDG 6. The effort to make the interlinkages with other aspects of the 2030 Agenda was appreciated, as it clearly showed the importance of water to other elements of sustainable development, and vice versa. More on the Public Dialogue

As part of the Public Dialogue activities, workshops and events were organized to increase the participation of stakeholders on the discussion of main challenges, opportunities and actions needed to achieve SDG 6.


Map of events where the Sythesis Report has been presented.

Capacity development

UNESCO WWAP facilitates related online and face-to-face trainings. This provides knowledge and tools to strengthen institutional capacity and the effectiveness of agencies and other actors. Moreover, it enhance countries’ capacity to deal with complex multi-sectoral and multi–disciplinary approaches in the governance of water and other natural resources.

An example of workshops and trainings:

  • Webinar 'SDG6: Global Progress and harnessing the power of the private sector' (link through Webex). Download the webinar material (pdf).
  • Workshop "Effective Management of Water Quality and Emerging Pollutants in Water and Wastewater in Sub-Saharan Africa"- Accra (Ghana), where 75 participants from 26 African countries participated to discuss the main messages of the report.
  • Workshop at the "XIII Meeting of National Committees and Focal Points of the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO in Latin America and the Caribbean" - Panama City (Panama), where the SDG 6 Synthesis Report was presented by WWAP and raised a lot of discussions around the formulation of useful indicators and data collection at the country level.
  • Sustainability Workshop during the "XXXVI Inter-American Congress of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering"- Guayaquil (Ecuador). The meeting saw the presence of the Minister of Environment and Water from Ecuador, Mr. Humberto Cholango who was very enthusiastic about the achievement of SDG 6 in Ecuador and the need to make it inclusive by reaching out to isolated and indigenous communities.
  • Contribution to a course of the SDG Academy on ‘Water: Addressing the Global Crisis’. Recorded lectures and other training material can be found here.

An overview of all WWAP capacity development trainings


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