A key part of managing freshwater lies in understanding the different needs and roles of people who use that water for different purposes – as well as the laws, institutions and governance mechanisms that are in place to manage it. These aspects are covered by the IWRM approach, as addressed in target 6.5 of the SDGs. The IWRM indicator has a long history, dating back to 1992 at the Rio conference on Sustainable Development, which called for the application of integrated approaches to the management of water resources. In 2005, the conference on Sustainable Development asked UN-Water to monitor progress on this goal. So, status reports were prepared in 2008 and 2012. SDGs adopted in 2015, confirmed the relevance of IWRM approach.
National consultations in Central and Eastern Europe
In the region of Central and Eastern Europe, national consultation workshops were held in Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine to consult and engage with stakeholders to fill out the questionnaire developed by UNEP-DHI to assess the implementation, monitoring and reporting process for indicator 6.5.1 (Degree of integrated water resources management implementation).
In Slovakia, the national consultation workshop was held on 23-24 October in Zvolen. The event was jointly organised by GWP Slovakia and the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development and Ecological Awareness, Technical University in Zvolen and was held back to back with the Fifth International Scientific Conference on Aspects of the integrated environmental management. Both events were under the patronage of the Slovak Ministry of Environment. The consultation workshop focused on the discussing and validating the Country Questionnaire for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 6.5.1 among a wide range of stakeholders.
In Ukraine, GWP Ukraine together with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources organized Workshop and stakeholders consultations to assess the status of the integrated water resources management on 26 October, in Kyiv. The task of the workshop was to make self-assessment of the status of IWRM at national and transboundary level and to fulfil the Questionnaire on indicator SDG 6.5.1 and the template on reporting to the UNECE Water Convention and indicator SDG 6.5.2. Among the participants were representatives from the Ministry of Economic Development, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the State Water Agency, the State Ecology Academy of Postgraduate Education and Administration; the State Institute of Management and Economics of Water Resources, different NGOs and many other important water actors in Ukraine.
The seminar allowed the Ukrainian stakeholders to build capacity on the global approaches and methodologies of monitoring SDGs 6.5, developed by world leaders in water management issues, including GWP and UNECE and to raise awareness on SDG 6.5 as well as to develop common understanding of the IWRM concept and modern tools.
The national consultation workshop in Slovenia took place on 7 November. During the discussion at the workshop, the participants shared that the knowledge of IWRM principles is still not clear enough and is often mistaken with the recommendations of the WFD. GWP Slovenia, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, plans to prepare a leaflet on the assessments in the questionnaire, with an emphasis on the interpretation of the IWRM principles.
„What is still lagging behind in Slovenia when addressing the SDGs are the areas which demand horizontal connections and cooperation. Agenda 2030 gives us the opportunity for better cooperation among sectors and levels.“ Timotej Šooš, Government office for development and European cohesion policy.