Main content

Progress on Integrated Water Resources Management – 2021 Update


Target 6.5 is: “By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.”

Indicator 6.5.1 tracks the degree of integrated water resources management (IWRM) implementation, by assessing the four key dimensions of IWRM: enabling environment, institutions and participation, management instruments and financing. Sustainable, integrated water resources management is vital for long-term social, economic and environmental well-being – the three pillars of the 2030 Agenda – and helps to balance competing water demands from across society and the economy.

This report presents the global status on IWRM and acceleration needs to achieve target 6.5 by 2030, based on the latest data on indicator 6.5.1.

Three key points:

  1. Globally, the rate of implementation of IWRM urgently needs to double.
  2. Real and rapid progress is possible. Unfortunately, 107 countries are not making sufficient progress to achieve SDG target 6.5. However, in some countries there are clear signs of progress. For example, between 2017 and 2020, 52 countries made moderate progress (though this still needs to accelerate), and 22 countries made substantial progress. The 44 countries that are close to the target need to sustain their efforts, since achieving and maintaining the objectives of sustainable water resources management is an ongoing process.
  3. Business as usual is not an option. The global call for IWRM implementation was formalized in 1992. Almost 30 years later, 87 countries (47 per cent) still report “low” or “medium-low” levels of IWRM implementation.


UN-Water Publications

UN-Water’s publications can be divided into two main groups: the publications that represent all Members and Partners of UN-Water – the collective products – and the publications that are under the UN-Water umbrella but produced by groups or individual UN-Water Members and/or Partners – the related products.