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Blog Post

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Dr Lisa Guppy
Project Officer, UNU-INWEH


“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” is number 6 among the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld) agreed to by world leaders last year.

Water security is fundamental to many other SDGs, including: Human and ecosystem health; biodiversity; and food production, for example. Meeting SDG 6 would go a long way towards achieving much of the ambitious global agenda, from ending poverty to regaining peace and stability.

The UN University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), in partnership with the Korean Environment Corporation (KECO) and the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea, is helping nations build the kind of evidence and gain the type of knowledge that enables informed and transparent water-related government decisions and policies.

In September, project champions from Ghana, Costa Rica, Pakistan and Tunisia came together with UNU-INWEH and KECO to share experience in national efforts to focus policy, planning and strategies around the newly agreed SDGs.

Water and sanitation challenges and successes varied widely between the represented countries.

For example, Pakistan’s fast-growing population and security issues strain government’s capacity to build and maintain water and sanitation infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, while in urbanising, arid areas of Tunisia, climate change may challenge even the best-designed water capture and storage systems.

Central to the discussions were:
* strengths and weaknesses of water management in different cultures, political contexts and climate risks
* how national Governments gather and use water data to build clear evidence for better management, and
* how planning and decision making can become more informed and transparent through the use of evidence-based policy making approaches.

The project’s first product is an “Evidence Framework,” evidence based policy making to achieve water-related SDGs globally. The Evidence Framework will promote a collaborative, global network of policy makers exchanging and using evidence-based knowledge.

Says UNU-INWEH Director Vladimir Smakhtin: “National governments are compelled by the SDGs to assess where they are in terms of an informed, transparent and accountable policy framework, and to quickly improve on this baseline to accelerate progress towards all water-related goals before 2030”.

Leader of the initiative is UNU-INWEH Project Officer Lisa Guppy, who says: “UNU-INWEH and its partners will advance implementation of this project in five countries and then make the resulting tools and know-how available worldwide.”

Click here to view the Water-Related Sustainable Development Goals project page