21 October 2014

Aligning water management with Sustainable Development Goals

To achieve the UN’s Sustainable Management Goals (SDGs) to reduce hunger and poverty, a more efficient and equitable use of water resources is key. International Water Management Institute (IWMI) just published On target for people and planet; setting and achieving water-related sustainable development goals to help shapenew policies and investments in the coming decades.

“Of all our natural resources, water underpins sustainable development perhaps more than any other,” said IWMI Director-General Jeremy Bird. “To deliver the SDGs, we have to be smart and inclusive. Water cuts across many of the goals—from poverty, to health, energy and the environment so we must reflect on the interactions and identify locally appropriate solutions to managing water.”

In the video, Peter McCormick, one of the book’s editors, speaks about what is different in the way that water is represented in the SDGs compared to the Millennium Development Goals.

According the publication, the main challenges include:

  • Developing realistic, measurable targets
  • Understanding the local and national context
  • Supporting an environmental approach to water management

IWMI leads the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), which combines the resources of 11 CGIAR centers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and numerous national, regional and international partners to provide an integrated approach to natural resource management research.

The book offers other examples of IWMI’s work in tackling complex issues:

  • IWMI conducted pilot tests in Uzbekistan’s Ferghana Valley to “bank” winter water flows released for hydropower into underground aquifers and later extract the stored water for dry-season irrigation. Such strategies may prove to be a pragmatic way to reverse damage caused by groundwater overpumping, and to deal with competing demands for water, energy and food.
  • Despite today’s focus on participatory water-use management, IWMI’s research shows that women, minorities and the poor often are left out of local decision-making. In such situations, women revert to “stealing” the water they need for domestic use and crops.
  • Humans generate millions of tons of solid and liquid waste every day. IWMI and its partners are testing innovative, low-cost human waste-to-fertilizer models in 10 cities across the globe. Implementing such solutions is a key to achieving SDG health and environment goals in low-income countries.

For more information, visit IWMI


Originally published at CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems