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Reporting under the Water Convention and Sustainable Development Goal 6.5.2


I. Overview

The reporting under the Convention was introduced in 2015 through decision (VII/2) at the 7th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention. This coincided with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets in 2015. SDG target 6.5 calls for countries to implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate. Indicator 6.5.2, defined as the “proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation”, was agreed by the United Nations Statistical Commission in March 2016 and was subsequently adopted in July 2017 by the General Assembly as part of the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNECE and UNESCO were designated as custodian agencies for the indicator. In order to maximize synergies and efficiencies, it was decided to combine the -reporting under the Convention and the reporting on indicator 6.5.2.

 

First reporting exercise

In the first reporting cycle held in 2017-2018, 107 out of 153 countries sharing transboundary waters responded to the invitation to report on SDG indicator 6.5.2 by UNECE and UNESCO. 38 out of 40 Parties responded to the request to report under the Water Convention. This high response rate offers a solid foundation upon which to ensure that reporting fulfills its potential as an effective means to monitor and focus efforts towards enhanced transboundary water cooperation and sustainable development.

The review of the first reporting exercise under the Water Convention and SDG 6.5.2 was conducted in 2018. The national reports provide country-led and evidence-based data to inform global policy dialogues on the sustainable development goals and transboundary cooperation, including the SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation; the 2018 UN SDG Report; the UN Statistical Commission’s SDG indicators database; a joint publication by UNECE and UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water, ‘Progress on transboundary water cooperation: Global baseline for SDG indicator 6.5.2’ and ‘Progress on Transboundary Water Cooperation under the Water Convention’.

 

Future reporting cycles and support to the reporting process

Reports will be submitted by 30 June triennially, with the next cycle to take place in 2020.

In 2018, the 8th session of the Meeting of the parties adopted a revised template for reporting [ENG, FRE, RUS, SPA] together with the decision on reporting (ECE/MP.WAT/2018/5). 

Moreover, the Meeting of the Parties also decided, to develop a Guide to Reporting under the Convention, in cooperation with UNESCO. The Guide will be concluded over the course of 2019 in time for the next reporting cycle. The Guide will be a practical document to support the completion of the template and thereby enhance the quality of national reports and strengthen their usefulness in  informing decision-/ policy-making processes related to transboundary water cooperation.

A revision of the existing step-by-step methodology for the calculation of SDG Indicator 6.5.2 will also be done on time for the next cycle of reporting.

II. Reporting under the Convention

II. A. - Decision on reporting under the Water Convention

In 2015, a regular reporting mechanism was established under the Water Convention (Decision VII/2). Regular reporting serves several purposes including:

  • Periodically reviewing national implementation of the Convention;
  • Informing the public of measures taken to implement the Convention; 
  • Supporting the mobilisation of resources, e.g. capacity building and technical assistance, in order to address specific basin needs and difficulties in the implementation of the Convention;
  • Identifying emerging issues that can inform the development of future programmes of work under the Convention, as well as the work of the Implementation Committee; and
  • Promoting the accumulation and exchange of lessons learned, good practices and experiences related to the implementation of the Convention.

 

First reporting exercise

The first reporting exercise took place in 2017. Parties were invited to complete the reporting template [ENG, FRE, RUS]. The reporting under the Convention, was coupled with reporting under SDG6.5.2, resulted in 38 parties out of 40 reported in this exercise (see map below). The positive response to the first reporting exercise provides an important baseline for assessing practice in the implementation of the Convention.

II. B. - Status of reporting under the Water Convention

II. C. - Reports by Parties

Reports by Parties
Parties during the first reporting cycle
Reports
ENGFRERUSSPA
AlbaniaPDF---
AustriaPDF---
BelgiumPDF---
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPDF---
BulgariaPDF---
CroatiaPDF---
Czech RepublicPDF---
DenmarkN.A.
EstoniaPDF---
FinlandPDF---
France-PDF--
GermanyPDF---
GreecePDF---
HungaryPDF---
ItalyPDF---
Kazakhstan--PDF-
LatviaPDF---
LiechtensteinN.A.
LithuaniaPDF---
LuxembourgPDF---
MoldovaPDF---
MontenegroPDF---
NetherlandsPDF---
North MacedoniaPDF---
NorwayPDF---
PolandPDF---
Portugal PDF---
RomaniaPDF---
Russia--PDF-
SerbiaPDF---
SlovakiaPDF---
SloveniaPDF---
SpainPDF---
SwedenPDF---
SwitzerlandPDF---
Ukraine--PDF-
Uzbekistan--PDF-

II. D. - Highlights of the first reporting exercise

  • Transboundary water management is well reflected at the national level.

  • Agreements and arrangements are in force in most transboundary waters shared between riparian Parties. However, for some transboundary waters there is a need to strengthen cooperative arrangements, or to adopt new ones where they are lacking, to ensure stronger alignment with the Water Convention. In particular,

    • In at least 15 transboundary river and lake basins do not have an agreement or arrangement in place covering the entire basin, and at least 29 do not have agreements or arrangements in place covering transboundary aquifers.
    • The main topics of cooperation provided for in the Water Convention are well covered by agreements and arrangements, although some aspects of the Convention, such as the elaboration of joint water quality objectives, mutual assistance and the maintenance of joint pollution inventories, are less well represented.

  • Where agreements and arrangements are in place nearly all of them provide for the establishment of a joint body, with the most common type consisting of a basin commission or similar. These joint bodies tend to cover the majority of the key tasks and activities mentioned in the Water Convention, although tasks and activities related to maintaining joint pollution inventories, setting emission limits, climate change adaptation and public participation are less well represented in these bodies.

  • There is a widespread and concerted effort to implement agreements and arrangements for transboundary waters.

    • Most transboundary waters covered by agreements and arrangements have adopted joint or coordinated water management plans, objectives, strategies or similar instruments with a view to advancing transboundary water cooperation.
    • Measures to protect the ecosystems of transboundary waters are commonly incorporated into national laws and policies and are often found in agreements and arrangements for transboundary waters.
    • Data and information exchange takes place in nearly all the reported transboundary waters, although there are at least seven river and lake basins where it does not appear to take place at the basin level.
    • There has been a concerted effort to adopt joint monitoring and assessment of transboundary waters, although joint monitoring and assessment is reported to not take place in at least 32 river and lake basins.

  • Several provisions of the Water Convention, including the adoption of joint water quality standards, provisions related to the prevention of accidental pollution and extreme events, and public participation in transboundary waters management do not appear to be widely implemented at the basin level.

III. Reporting under SDG Indicator 6.5.2

III. A. - Reporting under the SDG Indicator 6.5.2

Pursuant to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has agreed to ‘implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate’ by 2030 (SDG target 6.5). This target supports the wider goal of ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6); the monitoring and implementation of which is supported by UN Water’s Integrated Monitoring of Water and Sanitation-Related SDG Targets, more specifically by the (GEMI component).

GEMI was established in 2014 as an inter-agency initiative composed of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to harmonize and expand existing monitoring efforts focused on water, wastewater and ecosystem resources (targets 6.3 to 6.6).

Progress towards SDG target 6.5, is monitored through two indicators SDG Indicator 6.5.1 tracks the degree of implementation of integrated water resources management at all levels. SDG Indicator 6.5.2 is specific to transboundary water cooperation (6.5.2) and measures the ‘proportion of transboundary basin area within a country covered by an operational arrangement for water cooperation’, including the area of both river and lake basins and aquifers.

For an agreement or arrangement to be considered operational, the following criteria need to be fulfilled:

  • There is a joint body, joint mechanism or commission (e.g. a river basin organization) for transboundary cooperation;
  • There are regular (at least once a per year) formal communications between riparian countries in form of meetings (either at the political of technical level);
  • There is a joint or coordinated water management plan(s), or joint objectives have been set;
  • There is a regular (at least once per year) exchange of data and information.

As custodian agencies, UNECE and UNESCO invite all countries sharing transboundary waters to track their progress on transboundary cooperation and to report on their national value for SDG indicator 6.5.2. Both agencies, with the support of GEMI, are responsible for communicating with countries and coordinating country data, reviewing and validating data (where applicable), streamlining and disseminating results to countries, international agencies and other stakeholders. Guidance is provided to countries in many ways through technical support and capacity-building with regional and sub-regional workshops and guidance materials supporting the reporting process.

SDG 6 Indicator 6.5.2 global baseline reporting results

Over the course of 2017 and 2018, a total of 107 out of 153  countries sharing transboundary waters responded to the invitation to report on SDG indicator 6.5.2 which allowed to establish the baseline for this indicator. The assessment of the data submitted provides a picture of transboundary water cooperation across the globe, shedding light especially on the gaps present in the baseline assessment. Results of the initial reporting exercise, and subsequent updates, are available via the UN Statistical Commission’s SDG Indicators Global Database. UNECE and UNESCO  also jointly published an analytical report on SDG 6.5.2, available here.

For more information visit www.sdg6monitoring.org/ and the E-Handbook on SDG Indicators on Indicator 6.5.2.

III. B. - Status of SDG Indicator 6.5.2 global baseline date collection

III. C. - Reports by Countries

Reports by Countries

Countries sharing transboundary waters

Reports

Rivers & Lakes component (%)

Aquifers component (%)

Value of SDG Indicator 6.5.2 (%)

Afghanistan

[ENG]

51.7

-

-

Albania

[ENG]

66.8

89.3

75.6

Algeria

[FRE]

0

-

-

Andorra

[SPA]

4.4

-

-

Angola

[ENG]

100

15.2

78.9

Armenia

[ENG]

0.1

0

0.1

Austria

[ENG]

100

100

100

Belgium

[ENG]

100

100

100

Benin

[FRE]

96.3

49.2

81.5

Bosnia and Herzegovina

[ENG]

96.1

 

73.3

 

92.6

 

Botswana

[ENG]

100

100

100

Brazil

[ENG]

98.2

0

62.4

Bulgaria

[ENG]

100

97.6

99.6

Burkina Faso

[FRE]

93.6

-

-

Burundi

[FRE]

92.0

79.4

88.3

Cameroon

[FRE]

86.6

96.3

88.6

Canada

[ENG]

100

0

87.9

Chad

[FRE]

48.3

53.1

50.4

Chile

[SPA]

0

0

0

Colombia

[SPA]

1.1

-

-

Côte d’Ivoire

[FRE]

18.0

-

-

Croatia

[ENG]

100

-

-

Czechia

[ENG]

100

100

100

Democratic Republic of the Congo

[FRE]

99.6

 

 

-

-

Dominican Republic

[SPA]

0

 

0

 

0

Ecuador

[SPA]

100

100

100

El Salvador

[SPA]

0

0

0

Equatorial Guinea

[SPA]

0

 

N

0

Estonia

[ENG]

100

100

100

Finland

[ENG]

100

N

100

France

[FRE]

53.1

-

-

Gabon

[FRE]

0

0

0

Gambia

[ENG]

99.0

 

0

49.0

Georgia

[ENG]

0

0

0

Germany

[ENG]

100

100

100

Ghana

[ENG]

88.4

95.7

91.1

Greece

[ENG]

58.1

1

32.7

Guinea

[FRE]

66.8

-

-

Honduras

[SPA]

0

0

0

Hungary

[ENG]

100

100

100

Iraq

[ENG]

17.3

0

13.5

Ireland

[ENG]

100

100

100

Italy

[ENG]

100

100

100

Jordan

[ENG]

61.7

13.9

21.9

Kazakhstan

[RUS]

100

0

72.4

Kenya

[ENG]

35.9

0

26.8

Kuwait

[ENG]

N

-

-

Latvia

[ENG]

100

95.0

97.3

Lesotho

[ENG]

100

0

50

Lithuania

[ENG]

26.8

50.2

35.0

Luxembourg

[ENG]

100

100

100

Malaysia

[ENG]

13.4

-

-

Mali

[FRE]

99.9

60.7

75.3

Mexico

[SPA]

2.3

0

1.3

Moldova (Republic of)

[ENG]

93.3

 

100

95.8

 

Monaco

[FRE]

N

-

-

Montenegro

[ENG]

84.2

0

79.5

Morocco

[ENG]

0

0

0

Namibia

[ENG]

100

100

100

Netherlands

[ENG]

100

100

100

Niger

[FRE]

100

75.0

89.6

Nigeria

[ENG]

100

-

-

North Macedonia

[ENG]

13.6

 

-

-

Norway

[ENG]

59.5

54.4

59.5

Panama

[SPA]

9.3

0

9.1

Paraguay

[SPA]

100

0

50.9

Peru

[SPA]

14.1

-

-

Poland

[ENG]

72.3

100

-

Portugal

[ENG]

100

-

-

Qatar

[ENG]

N

0

0

Republic of Korea

[ENG]

0

 

0

0

Romania

[ENG]

100

100

100

Russia

[RUS]

-

-

-

Senegal

[FRE]

100

0

34.1

Serbia

[ENG]

92.3

78.1

90.0

Sierra Leone

[ENG]

7.0

N

7.0

Slovakia

[ENG]

100

100

100

Slovenia

[ENG]

100

100

100

Somalia

[ENG]

0

0

0

South Africa

[ENG]

100

-

-

Spain

[ENG]

100

-

-

Sweden

[ENG]

78.0

100

78

Switzerland

[ENG]

93.5

-

-

Togo

[FRE]

55.6

76

60.2

Tunisia

[FRE]

0

100

80.5

Uganda

[ENG]

97.5

0

83.6

Ukraine

[RUS]

36.9

-

-

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

[ENG]

0

 

0

0

Uzbekistan

[RUS]

59.3

-

-

Venezuela (Republic of)

[SPA]

7.0

0

3.5

 

Viet Nam

[ENG]

29.3

-

-

Zambia

[ENG]

76.8

0

70.0

Zimbabwe

[ENG]

76.2

-

-

III. D. - Highlights of the 6.5.2 baseline

In some regions and basins, significant progress has been made to further transboundary water cooperation through operational arrangements. Progress is particu­larly advanced in Europe and Northern America, and in most major river and lake basins in sub-Saharan Africa. Regional legal frameworks, such as the EU Water Framework Directive and the Revised SADC Protocol, have proven to be important drivers of transboundary water cooperation.

However, results from the 6.5.2 indicator monitoring exercises show that arrangements for transbound­ary water cooperation are often absent. For the 62 countries for which date is available, only 59 per cent of their transboundary basin area is covered by operational arrangements, and only 17 countries have all their transboundary basins covered by operational arrangements. These results are consistent with those for SDG indicator 6.5.1.

Cooperation on transboundary aquifers represents a particular challenge and is lagging further behind. Despite the numerous services that groundwater provides for both humans and ecosystems, operational arrangements for transboundary aquifers are still rare around the world. Transboundary aquifers entered late on the scientific and political agendas, probably to a large extent on account of the hidden nature of groundwater. Delineating transboundary aquifers and realizing commitments to coordinated or joint management of this invisible resource therefore pose particular challenges.

If target 6.5 is to be achieved by 2030, progress must be accelerated and all transboundary basins must be covered by an operational arrangement. At the current rate of progress, with on average three agreements entered into per year, we are not on track to achieve target 6.5.

IV. Meetings

V. Publications

The Progress on transboundary water cooperation under the Water Convention presents the results of the first reporting exercise under the Water Convention carried out in 2017-2018 by 38 parties. The report contrasts Water Convention provisions with the responses to the reporting template by all reporting parties and offers an analysis on the insights that emerge from the reported implementation of the Convention and from the gaps to be addressed as well as insights from practice through case studies. The Annexes provide a detailed overview of reporting parties, transboundary waters and agreements and arrangements that have been reported on.

The Progress on transboundary water cooperation: Global baseline for SDG indicator 6.5.2  presents the results of the initial reporting exercise on indicator 6.5.2 carried out in 2017-2018. It offers valuable insights into the progress achieved in establishing operational arrangements for transboundary waters, and the gaps that remain; and highlights that an acceleration in strengthening transboundary water cooperation is urgently needed to be able to face growing water challenges and prevent conflicts on water use.

The Sustainable Development Goal 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation builds on the latest data available for the 11 SDG 6 global indicators. Representing a joint position from the United Nations family, the report offers guidance to understanding global progress on SDG 6 and its interdependencies with other goals and targets. It also provides insight into how countries can plan and act to ensure that no one is left behind when implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.