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Water & Natural Resources

Freshwater Management - Integration for Sustainable Development

The Division for Sustainable Development is seeking to promote integrated approaches to natural resource management as part of Agenda 21. This relates particularly to the provisions of Chapter 18 dealing with freshwater. Through its Water management Branch, the Division provides project execution and policy advisory services at national and regional levels in integrated water resource management. With over 30 years experience within the UN Secretariat, the Branch has gained an excellent reputation for its technical assistance throughout the developing world, particularly in groundwater development. An important aspect of this assistance is that it is neutral and encompasses a comprehensive view of water resource management, making available a pool of international expertise and documentation.

Principle Objective

The principle objective of the Branch is to assist developing countries in enhancing their own capacity in integrated water resource management, particularly the operational aspects. The promotion of progressive regulatory and institutional frameworks are vital elements which need to be linked explicitly to macro-economic and spatial planning initiatives. This approach stresses the need to view water resources in a holistic way with consideration of socio-economic and hydro-environmental systems as mutually dependent. The long term sustainability therefore hinges upon a sound understanding of these systems and their inter-relationships. 


The expertise of the Division can assist Governments in all aspects of water resource development and management including:

  • diagnostic assessments of national and provincial water sectors
  • development of water policy and legislation frameworks
  • training, capacity building and institutional strengthening for integrated water resource management
  • rural water supply and sanitation programmes
  • medium and long-term management strategies
  • macro-economic planning tools
  • assessments of water resource availability and use
  • hydro-environmental impact assessments and
  • hydro-geological and hydrological studies

Sustainable Development Topics

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