UNEP Releases Survey Results on Improved Water Management

UNEP4 May 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the results of a survey of over 130 governments, regarding their efforts in sustainable management of water resources. The survey, which was coordinated by UNEP on behalf of UN-Water, focused on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and is intended to inform decision-making at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

According to UNEP, the survey asked governments about governance, infrastructure, financing, and other areas relating to water management, in an effort to gauge how successful countries have been in moving towards IWRM. UNEP says 90% of countries reported positive impacts from integrated approaches to water management, following national reforms.

Key findings include that: water-related risks and the competition for water resources are perceived by a majority of countries to have increased over the past 20 years; most countries rank domestic water supply as the highest priority for water resources management; the majority of countries reported an increasing trend in financing for water resources development, although obstacles to implementing reforms remain; and that progress on water efficiency is lagging behind other water management reforms, with fewer than 50% of national reforms addressing water efficiency.

UNEP says many developing countries signalled a need for increased capacity-building, investment and infrastructure development in order to fully implement IWRM reforms.

As a result of the survey, suggested targets and recommendations have been developed to inform decision-makers at Rio+20. These include: by 2015, each country should develop specific targets and timeframes for preparing and implementing a programme of action and a financing strategy for IWRM; by 2015, a global reporting mechanism on national water resources management should be established; and more effort is needed to increase levels of financing and improve the institutional framework for water resources management, especially focusing on low human development index countries. [UNEP Press Release] [UN Press Release]