The SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme is inviting integrated water resources management (IWRM) professionals and experts to embark on a learning journey focused on Innovative Financing for Water Security through an IWRM approach taking place in the newly created SDG 6 IWRM Community of Practice.


What is the learning journey about? 

Building robust and innovative financing mechanisms for water security through an IWRM approach will enable sustainable and more resilient management of our precious water resources. Out of the four dimensions of IWRM, financing is lagging furthest behind in progression towards achieving SDG indicator 6.5.1 on IWRM implementation. More financing needs to be made available for IWRM approaches and implementation from a variety of sources, including public and private sector and climate financing. What financial resources are available and how can these be mobilised? Which new and innovative mechanisms need to be created to enhance IWRM implementation and ultimately water security? To advance on these key questions, the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme is organising a learning journey from May to September 2022. 

Kick-off webinar

On June 8th, 2022, the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme  hosted a two-part webinar to kick-off the Learning Journey on Innovative Financing for Water Security through an IWRM Approach. Recordings of the webinar are available for both the morning session (AM CEST) and the afternoon session (PM CEST), and the presentations can be found on the right. The event was used as a platform to initiate a discussion about some of the main bottlenecks and opportunities on how to make better use of available financial resources and draw in much needed additional resources, and to emphasise the importance of creating an enabling environment for financial resources to flow to where it is most needed. The discussion will be continued on the newly created SDG 6 IWRM Community of Practice (CoP)

The opening remarks of the two sessions were provided by, respectively, Dario Soto-Abril, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer at GWP, and Ralph Philip, Acting Chief Operating Officer at GWP. Maija Bertule, Senior Technical Advisor at UNEP-DHI, then argued in her presentation that the financing dimension is lagging furthest behind in achieving the target of SDG indicator 6.5.1 on the degree of IWRM implementation by 2030, potentially jeopardising our ability to achieve a water-secure world.  

Following the inspiring openings of the sessions, a panel discussion with leading thematic experts was moderated by Colin Herron, Senior Water Resources Management Specialist, Water Solutions for the SDGs at GWP.  The morning panel consisted of Helen Laubenstein, Environmental Economist at the OECD; Phil Riddell, Water Resource Policy and Sector Investment Specialist at Riddell Associates Limited; and Guy Alaerts, Emeritus Professor of Knowledge and Capacity Development at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education.  

The afternoon panel consisted of Rukan Manaz, Programme Specialist at UNCDF; Alex Money, CEO, Oxford Earth Observation & Research Academic, University of Oxford; and Diego Rodriguez, Lead Water Economist, Eastern and Southern Africa, World Bank. The panel was followed by an interactive exchange of experiences with participants and experts. 

The webinar concluded with a presentation about the next steps of the Learning Journey by Sandra Bruehlmann, Programme Associate, Water Solutions for the SDGs at GWP. Thereafter, concluding remarks at the two sessions were provided by, respectively, Lis Mullin Bernhardt, Programme Officer, Freshwater and Marine Branch, UNEP, and Joakim Harlin, Chief of Freshwater Ecosystems Unit at UNEP and Chief Manager at UNEP-DHI. 

The main takeaways from the webinars can be summarised as follows: 

  • There is a need for intermediary institutions between actors from the water sector and actors from the financial sector when plans are designed relating to financing water security (the financial sector and water sector do not necessarily fully understand each other, nor do they always speak the same language)  

  • Cooperating with the private sector will become key to unlocking financing for water security, though it is not only a question of mobilising more capital, but also making better use of existing budgets. Following IWRM principles can be crucial to make that process successful and sustainable  

  • There is a gap between being able to define bankable water projects on the one hand, and thereafter linking it to potential available sources of funding on the other hand 

  • In PPPs to finance water security, the risks often end up with the private sector parties. The risks within these partnerships need to be more equally distributed and carried to make it more attractive for private sector parties. De-risking schemes exist but need to be ramped up in scale for water-related investments  

After the event, panelists continued interacting with participants in a live chat on the SDG 6 IWRM CoP. To access the live chat recordings, continue the discussion and become part of the learning journey, interested IWRM practitioners are invited to:  

  1. Create a free profile on the GWP Toolbox   

  1. Join the SDG 6 IWRM Community on the Toolbox!