Human pressures on water resources are increasing unsustainably at the same time as climate change is making the availability of water resources increasingly variable. Improvements in the way we use and manage our water are urgently needed to sustain our development. Integrated water resources management (IWRM) is the recognised approach to advance water security by helping balance demands between the users and the uses of freshwater, without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. SDG indicator 6.5.1 measures the degree of implementation of IWRM. Globally, the implementation rate of IWRM needs to urgently double to reach the 2030 targets, with some countries needing to far more than double their current rate of progress. Some countries have demonstrated that real and rapid progress is possible, but that a business-as-usual approach will not lead us to the desired goals.
Many countries know what needs to be done but lack the financial resources to implement and sustain required actions. Recognising that financing is the dimension of IWRM which is lagging furthest behind, constituting a major barrier to progress in implementing IWRM and therefore achieving sustainable development, the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme has set up the Funding Matchmaking initiative, which focuses on bringing together the supply and demand for financing for improved water security.To do so, it is leveraging political and financial in-country support for the implementation of actions aimed at improving IWRM implementation in the coming years, to accelerate progress on the water-related SDGs, in line with the financing accelerator of the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework. The initiative has been piloted in Kenya and Guatemala in 2021 – 2022.
Pilot in Guatemala
Guatemala participated in the Stage 2 IWRM action planning process in 2019 and selected one of the priority actions for the matchmaking initiative. Specifically, it aimed to create a mechanism for the protection, conservation and improvement of water resources, through co-investment by private companies in the management of basins of their interest in order to advance and strengthen the technical basin roundtables. The pilot has been focusing specifically on the La Pasión river basin.This initiative has been led by the Vice-Ministry for Water in the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, with the support of GWP Central America and GWP Guatemala.
Pilot in Kenya
Kenya participated in the Stage 2 IWRM action planning process in 2019-2020 and identified several priority actions to be implemented. One action in particular focused on private sector engagement in water resources management and was selected by the country as the pilot action for the funding matchmaking initiative. In particular, under the initiative, an investment package was developed and presented to stakeholders with the objective to enhance conservation and sustainable management of the catchment ecosystem for improved economic and social welfare in the Athi River Catchment Area. This initiative has been led by the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation (MWSI) from Kenya, with the support of GWP Eastern Africa and the Kenya Country Water Partnership.
High-level officials from the governments of Guatemala and Kenya and representatives of international organisations, together with over 120 participants, discussed and presented preliminary results of the Funding Matchmaking Initiative in a webinar held on September 8th, 2022, organised by the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme. This event shed light on the lessons learned in the two countries and how other countries could take them on-board in their own journeys towards financing water security. The recording of the session is available in English and in Spanish.