Overarching objective: Encourage and promote the integration of environmental data within relevant decision-making processes through multi-stakeholder engagement, to improve the protection, management and restoration of freshwater ecosystems. Outcomes and outputs: Outcomes: Target countries have increased capacity and political will to protect and/or restore freshwater ecosystems and/or watersheds; Key stakeholders in target countries have prioritised key ecosystems and/or watersheds for protection and/or restoration and endorsed related action plans. The overarching objective and outcomes stated above will be achieved through the implementation of pilot projects in three countries, through two outputs at the country level: Enhance the awareness of decision-makers and build the technical capacity of key institutional actors to protect and/or restore freshwater ecosystems and/or watersheds; An ecosystem-specific cross-sectoral action plan to preserve and/or restore targeted watersheds and/or ecosystems is prepared.
Output 1: Enhance the awareness of decision-makers and build the technical capacity of key institutional actors to protect and/or restore freshwater ecosystems and/or watersheds. Through a close collaboration with the lead mandated institution and building on a capacity needs assessment, output 1 will comprise of delivery of capacity development activities through live demonstrations and subsequent tailored national trainings, on the role, value, and importance of protecting and/or restoring freshwater ecosystems, and on the use and interpretation of the 6.6.1 Explorer to that end, further complemented by existing national level data, to identify key trends and threats per country, for key watersheds and/or per type of ecosystem1. The activities will aim to enhance the awareness of decision-makers and build the capacity of the lead mandated institution and other key sectoral institutions. This should lead to decision-making capable of: Understanding the role and value of freshwater ecosystems within different sectoral contexts, through the services provided by those ecosystems; Understanding possible actions and management solutions to protect and/or restore freshwater ecosystems; Being well versed with national and sub-national efforts and platforms for data collection and analysis of freshwater ecosystems, and understanding how this contributes to policy making at different levels; Understanding how to use and interpret the SDG 6.6.1 explorer and complementary data portals as relevant; Understanding national/basin/ecosystem level trends and how to apply and integrate data and knowledge from different sources to discern causal factors behind changing extent and quality of freshwater ecosystems, identifying adverse freshwater ecosystem trends and articulating any associated social, economic and environmental impacts. Output 2: An ecosystem-specific cross-sectoral action plan to preserve and/or restore targeted watersheds and/or ecosystems is prepared. Output 2 will entail technical assistance to carry out a consultative multi-stakeholder process applying the learnings from output 1, in order to prioritise ecosystems within the national context and develop an action plan which includes a high-level implementation roadmap for protection and/or restoration of priority ecosystems/watersheds, that also identifies potential funding sources where possible. The scope of the prioritisation and roadmap must clearly consider environmental as well as social and economic factors. Selection criteria are being used to identify the countries to take part in this pilot, looking for a diversity of ecological and socio-economic environments, geographic diversity, and drawn from countries assisted by the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme and where the project partners have operational capacity. This would enable those countries to draw parallels between SDG indicators 6.6.1 and 6.5.1, among others, while also allowing for shared learning and synergies between the action plans.