More than 30 governments and organizations joined a coalition in support of transboundary water cooperation on policy, governance, capacity development, technical support, and finance. The coalition will encourage concrete commitments to advance transboundary water cooperation by countries and organizations to be submitted as contributions to the Water Action Agenda – one of the main outcomes of the UN 2023 Water Conference.

The Transboundary Water Cooperation Coalition aims to:  

  • Lift the voice of the transboundary water community in a unified manner; 
  • Demonstrate and communicate the benefits of transboundary water cooperation for upstream and downstream countries, including in climate change adaptation;
  • Galvanize concrete commitments related to transboundary water cooperation; and 
  • Catalyze support to initiate, sustain, and enhance transboundary water cooperation. 

Its members include the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Namibia, the Netherlands, Panama, Senegal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uganda, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Organization of American States (OAS), the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), Centro Regional para la Gestión de Aguas Subteranneas de América Latina y el Caribe (CeReGAS), the Global Water Partnership (GWP), IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Geneva Water Hub, EcoPeace Middle East, and the University of Kinshasa.

“Accelerating transboundary water cooperation requires a broad partnership of actors to bring this key issue to the forefront of the global agenda,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova at the launch. “We have a lot to do: from the strengthening of the legal and institutional frameworks, including on the basis of the UN Water Convention, to enhancing capacity, making data available, increasing financing, and sharing knowledge,” she emphasized.

Describing transboundary water cooperation as “an accelerator for the achievement” of the SDGs, Eric Tardieu, INBO Secretary General, highlighted the importance of “strengthening cooperation for the management of the transboundary basins of our lakes, rivers and aquifers” in a changing climate “to meet our common objectives of water, energy, food and ecological securities our societies depend on.”

The Coalition launched on 8 December 2022, during the UN-Water Groundwater Summit in Paris, France. The Summit, held from 7-8 December, was the culmination of the ‘Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible’ campaign, implemented throughout 2022 and coordinated by UNESCO and IGRAC, on behalf of UN-Water. The messages from the Summit on raising the importance of groundwater will feed into the UN 2023 Water Conference. One of the interactive dialogues at the UN 2023 Water Conference will convene on the theme, ‘Water for Cooperation,’ and include the topics of transboundary and international water cooperation, cross-sectoral and scientific cooperation, and water across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. [UN-Water Summit on Groundwater 2022] [UNECE Press Release]