The Technical Committee (TEC) of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) published a background paper titled, ‘Measuring transboundary water cooperation: options for Sustainable Development Goal Target 6.5'.
It examines three methodologies for measuring indicator 6.5.2 on the “proportion of transboundary basin area within an operational arrangement for water cooperation”.
August 2017: The Technical Committee (TEC) of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) has published a background paper titled, ‘Measuring Transboundary Water Cooperation: Options for Sustainable Development Goal Target 6.5.’ The paper presents ways for measuring progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), and in particular, target 6.5, which calls for, by 2030, the implementation of integrated water resources management (IRWM) at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation. The GWP released the publication as part of its activities during World Water Week, which is being held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 27 August to 1 September 2017.
Indicator 6.5.2 measures the “proportion of transboundary basin area within an operational arrangement for water cooperation.” The executive summary of the publication emphasizes the importance of this indicator, pointing out that excluding Antarctica, “almost 50% of the world’s land surface is within a transboundary river basin,” and noting that major population centers rely on shared waters for domestic, agriculture and industrial use. The report highlights that how “transboundary area,” “operational” and “arrangement” are defined impacts their measurement, which also changes reporting and influences how indicator 6.5.2 can support policy-making and sustainable development.
Almost 50% of the world’s land surface is within a transboundary river basin.
The publication presents three methodologies for measuring indicator 6.5.2. The first is the UN-Water proposed methodology, where “operational” is defined by four criteria: existence of a joint body, regular communication, a joint management plan, and regular data and information exchange. The second approach builds on the first, but also defines levels of operational cooperation (for an arrangement to be operational, only one of the criteria needs to be satisfied). The third method establishes a typology of cooperation adapted from another GWP background paper.
Overall, the publication aims to provide guidance on measuring indicator 6.5.2, to support the development of monitoring and implementation plans for SDG 6. The first two chapters of the publication discuss transboundary waters in the context of the SDGs, defining cooperation and its origin. The third chapter addresses measures of transboundary water cooperation, mapping the resilience of river basins given climate change, and discusses the water cooperation quotient as well as the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme. The next section builds foundations for measuring and conceptualizing SDG indicator 6.5.2, outlaying common terminology and providing case studies. The fifth chapter relays a draft methodology for measuring the indicator, which is followed, inter alia, by a discussion of results.
The GWP is an international network created in 1996 to foster an integrated approach to water resources management (IWRM). The TEC provides technical support and advice to the GWP and is charged with developing an analytical framework of the water sector and proposing actions that promote sustainable water resources management. [TEC Background Paper No. 23: Measuring Transboundary Water Cooperation: Options for Sustainable Development Goal Target 6.5] [GWP Activities and Publications Launched at World Water Week]