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Decisions by Topic: Water and sanitation
A/RES/70/1 - Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and
supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers
and lakes
6.a By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
6.b Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
15.8 By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien
species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species

A/RES/69/313- Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa Action Agenda)

64. We recognize that small island developing States face numerous challenges with respect to freshwater resources, including pollution, the overexploitation of surface, ground and coastal waters, saline intrusion, drought and water scarcity, soil erosion, water and wastewater treatment and the lack of access to sanitation and hygiene. Furthermore, changes in rainfall patterns related to climate change have regionally varying and potentially significant impacts on water supply.

65. In this regard, we are committed to supporting the efforts of small island developing States:

(a) To develop institutional and human capacities for the effective, inclusive and sustainable implementation of the integrated management of water resources and related ecosystems, including supporting women’s engagement in water management systems;

(b) To provide and operate appropriate facilities and infrastructure for safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management systems, including the exploration of desalination technology where economically and environmentally feasible;

(c) To facilitate the expansion of wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse in the context of the sustainable and efficient use of water resources;

(d) To improve water-use efficiency and work towards eliminating over-extraction, especially of groundwater, and to mitigate the effects of saltwater intrusion.

A/RES/66/288 - The Future We Want

119. We recognize that water is at the core of sustainable development as it is closely linked to a number of key global challenges. We therefore reiterate the importance of integrating water in sustainable development and underline the critical importance of water and sanitation within the three dimensions of sustainable development.

120. We reaffirm the commitments made in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Declaration regarding halving by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and the development of integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans, ensuring sustainable water use. We commit to the progressive realization of access to safe and affordable drinking water and basic sanitation for all, as necessary for poverty eradication, women?s empowerment and to protect human health, and to significantly improve the implementation of integrated water resource management at all levels as appropriate. In this regard, we reiterate the commitments to support these efforts, in particular for developing countries, through the mobilization of resources from all sources, capacity-building and technology transfer.

121. We reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, to be progressively realized for our populations with full respect for national sovereignty. We also highlight our commitment to the 2005-2015 International Decade for Action, ?Water for Life?.

122. We recognize the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality and support actions within respective national boundaries to protect and sustainably manage these ecosystems.

123. We underline the need to adopt measures to address floods, droughts and water scarcity, addressing the balance between water supply and demand, including, where appropriate, non-conventional water resources, and to mobilize financial resources and investment in infrastructure for water and sanitation services, in accordance with national priorities.

124. We stress the need to adopt measures to significantly reduce water pollution and increase water quality, significantly improve wastewater treatment and water efficiency and reduce water losses. In order to achieve this, we stress the need for international assistance and cooperation.

E/CN.17/2005/12 - Report on the 13th session (30 April 2004 and 11-22 April 2005)

Access to basic water services

(a) Sustain and accelerate progress towards the water access goal, supported by increased resources from all sources, including official development assistance, in response to countries? needs, with a focus on the following actions:
(i) Prioritizing water in national development plans and facilitating access to water for all;
(ii) Strengthening capacities of national and local authorities in resource allocation and management, quality control, development and implementation of water supply projects, and monitoring of service provision;
(iii) Promoting support for water infrastructure planning and development;
(iv) Involving all stakeholders, particularly women and youth, in the planning and management of water services and, as appropriate, decision-making processes;
(v) Instituting economic incentives to encourage the participation of small-scale water service providers;
(vi) Employing the full range of policy instruments, including regulation, voluntary measures, market and information-based tools and cost recovery of water services, that contribute to the sustainability of services provision, without cost-recovery objectives, becoming a barrier to access to safe water by poor people;
(vii) Targeting subsidies for the poor, including connection costs;
(b) Develop and strengthen human and institutional capacities for effective water management and service delivery, through:
(i) Building capacities of local communities in operation and maintenance of water systems, and training educators, managers and technicians in different aspects of water management;
(ii) Tapping local and indigenous knowledge in project development and implementation;
(iii) Promoting and strengthening commercial capacities of local suppliers;
(iv) Improving monitoring and analytical capabilities of water information management agencies;
(c) Develop and transfer low-cost technologies for safe water supply and treatment, in accordance with countries? needs, with a focus on the following:
(i) Promoting access to appropriate low-cost and environmentally sustainable water use and supply technologies through North-South and South-South cooperation and partnerships;
(ii) Developing capacities in the area of water desalination, treatment of contaminants, rainwater harvesting and water efficiency through technology transfer and sharing of best practices;
(iii) Investing in research and development projects;
(iv) Addressing the special needs of countries with arid and semi-arid areas due to water scarcity;

Integrated water resources management

(d) Recognizing that the 2005 target on integrated water resources management may not be met by all countries, accelerate the provision of technical and financial assistance to countries in preparing nationally owned integrated water resources management and water-efficiency plans tailored to country-specific needs, paying particular attention to economic development, social and environmental needs, supporting implementation through learning-by-doing, directed, inter alia, towards the following:
(i) Improving water governance through strengthening of institutional and regulatory reforms, capacity development and innovation;
(ii) Providing technical and management support to local authorities and community-based organizations, taking into account research, traditional knowledge and best practices, to improve water resources management within national policy frameworks;
(iii) Providing additional resources, as appropriate, for regional and subregional initiatives, such as the African Water Facility;
(iv) Encouraging effective coordination among all stakeholders in water-related decision-making;
(v) Enhancing the sustainability of ecosystems that provide essential resources and services for human well-being and economic activity in water-related decision-making;
(vi) Facilitating information exchange and knowledge-sharing, including indigenous and local knowledge;
(vii) Strengthening the prevention of pollution resulting from wastewater, solid waste, and industrial and agricultural activities;
(viii) Developing preventive and preparedness measures, as well as risk mitigation and disaster reduction, including early warning systems;
(ix) Protecting and rehabilitating catchment areas for regulating water flows and improving water quality, taking into account the critical role of ecosystems;
(x) Raising awareness of the importance of water use efficiency and conservation;
(xi) Involving all stakeholders, including women, youth and local communities, in integrated planning and management of land and water resources;
(xii) Encouraging, where appropriate and within their mandates, the use of multilateral environmental agreements to leverage additional resources for integrated water resources management;
(xiii) Promoting higher priority and greater action on water quality;
(e) Support African initiatives in the area of water, within the framework of the African Ministerial Conference on Water, with particular reference to basin-wide initiatives in Africa;
(f) Enhance cooperation among riparian States through relevant arrangements and/or mechanisms with the consent of the States concerned, taking into account the interests of the riparian States;
(g) Develop and strengthen national monitoring systems on the quantity, quality and use of surface- and groundwater resources at national and local levels, and for measuring progress towards internationally agreed goals and targets, as appropriate, as well as for assessing the impact of climate variability and change on water resources, through the following actions:
(i) Establishing and managing water information systems;
(ii) Installing networks for monitoring water resources and quality;
(iii) Standardizing methodologies and developing monitoring indicators;
(iv) Transferring monitoring technologies adaptable to local conditions;
(v) Disseminating information to relevant stakeholders;
(h) Support more effective water demand and water resource management across all sectors, especially in the agricultural sector, by:
(i) Using efficient irrigation and rainwater harvesting technologies;
(ii) Implementing irrigation projects with a focus on the poor, particularly in Africa;
(iii) Training farmers and water user associations in efficient water use and sustainable agricultural land management;
(iv) Promoting the use of wastewater for certain irrigation purposes, subject to health and environmental standards;
(v) Increasing the efficiency and, where appropriate, the use of rain-fed agriculture;

B. Sanitation

(i) Provide adequate sanitation, recognizing the interlinkages among water, sanitation, hygiene and health, including water-borne disease vectors, as well as the positive impacts of access to sanitation on poverty reduction, privacy, dignity, security and education;

Access to basic sanitation

(j) Sustain and accelerate progress towards the sanitation target of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, supported by increased resources from all sources, including official development assistance, in response to countries? needs, with a focus on the following actions:
(i) Establishing an institutional home for sanitation, prioritizing sanitation in national development plans, and incorporating sanitation in integrated water resources management plans;
(ii) Allocating a specific and adequately resourced budget for sanitation;
(iii) Prioritizing investments directed towards areas of greatest need and greatest impact, notably in schools, workplaces and health centres;
(iv) Employing cost recovery, where appropriate, to contribute to the sustainability of services, with targeted subsidies for the poor;
(v) Instituting economic incentives to encourage the participation of small-scale sanitation and hygiene service providers;
(vi) Conducting assessment of the health impacts of the lack of sanitation at community level;
(vii) Supporting existing regional and interregional initiatives such as the Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for all (WASH) programme for water and sanitation;
(viii) Promoting and supporting on-site sanitation infrastructure, especially in rural areas;
(ix) Supporting the provision and maintenance of sanitation services to refugees and refugee host countries;
(k) Ensure effective capacity for building, operating and maintaining sanitation and sewerage systems, including by:
(i) Providing managerial and technical training to public utilities, community-based organizations and small-scale providers for development, operation and maintenance of sanitation systems;
(ii) Strengthening the role of women in planning, decision-making and management of sanitation systems;
(iii) Tapping local and indigenous knowledge in project development and implementation;
(iv) Promoting and strengthening commercial capacities of local suppliers in establishing sustainable sanitation delivery models;
(v) Improving monitoring and analytical capabilities of information management agencies;
(l) Ensure access to culturally appropriate, low-cost and environmentally sound sanitation technologies, including by:
(i) Promoting research, development and dissemination of information on low-cost sanitation options;
(ii) Investing in research and development projects including applications of indigenous technologies and ecological sanitation;
(iii) Providing technology transfer for sanitation, wastewater treatment, reuse and residuals management;
(iv) Strengthening North-South and South-South cooperation in developing and applying sanitation technology;

Sanitation and hygiene education

(m) Support countries in promoting sanitation and hygiene education and awareness-raising, focusing on the following measures:
(i) Promoting gender-sensitive sanitation and hygiene education and awareness, including through social marketing and public information campaigns such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for all (WASH), and improving understanding of the linkages among sanitation, hygiene and health;
(ii) With an emphasis on children and youth, incorporating gender-sensitive hygiene education in school curricula and ensuring the provision of separate sanitation facilities for boys and girls in all schools;
(iii) Promoting the involvement of women, youth and community groups in sanitation and hygiene education programmes;

Wastewater collection, treatment and reuse

(n) Expand and improve wastewater treatment and reuse, with a focus on the following:
(i) Financial and technical assistance to national and local authorities in deploying cost-effective and environmentally sound sewerage and wastewater treatment systems, including decentralized urban systems;
(ii) Meeting operation and maintenance costs through an appropriate mix of measures including user charges, wastewater reuse and budgetary allocations;
(iii) Establishing sustainable business models and financing mechanisms linked to capital markets such as revolving funds for sewerage services;
(iv) Education and training in building, operating and maintaining wastewater collection and treatment systems;
(v) Research, development and dissemination of information on low-cost and efficient wastewater treatment technologies, including on water quality and reuse;
(vi) Dissemination of information and guidelines on surface- and groundwater quality and the safe reuse of treated wastewater;
(vii) Establishing regional project development facilities to provide seed capital, training and technical assistance;
(o) Support regional and subregional arrangements, to protect water resources from pollution, addressing the specific needs of arid, semi-arid and coastal countries;

E/CN.17/2005/12 - Report on the 13th session (30 April 2004 and 11-22 April 2005)

(t) Address water, sanitation and human settlements in an integrated manner, taking into account economic, social and environmental aspects, related sectoral policies and cross-cutting issues as identified at the eleventh session of the Commission, as well as national, subregional and regional specificities, circumstances and legal frameworks, with particular attention given to the requirements of women, youth and workers, through a range of measures and approaches such as:
(i) Interlinking measures on water, sanitation and human settlements to increase their synergy, efficiency and impact by developing integrated and inclusive policies of planning and management in water, sanitation and human settlements;
(ii) Improving national coordination efforts to address water and sanitation, to manage the competing demands for water, including those for agricultural production;
(iii) Enhancing inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral coordination and planning mechanisms, as well as mechanisms for coordination between different levels of administration;
(iv) In accordance with paragraph 14 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns in all countries, with developed countries taking the lead and with all countries benefiting from the process, including through the Marrakech Process, in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements;

(u) Devise water, sanitation and human settlements policies and actions taking account of the need to address the impacts of rapid urbanization, desertification, climate change and climate variability and natural disasters, including by:
(i) Assessing the impact of natural disasters, climate change and climate variability on water resources, water supply, sanitation and human settlements;
(ii) Supporting the implementation of monitoring and early warning systems and of relevant mitigation and adaptation technologies;

(v) Noting that the water and sanitation targets are to halve the proportion of people who lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015, and that the target for slum-dwellers is to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by 2020, support countries, including through the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in their ability to provide data and information on existing slums with a projection on new slum formation by 2020, and thereafter to adopt and implement plans to achieve these targets, linked to poverty reduction strategies, national sustainable development strategies or other relevant policy plans;

(w) Resolve to take further effective measures to remove obstacles to the full realization of the rights of people living under colonial and foreign occupation, which are incompatible with the dignity and worth of human persons and must be combated and eliminated;

(x) Concerning the means of implementation, mobilize adequate resources to meet the water, sanitation and human settlements goals and targets, tapping both domestic and international sources through a range of financing approaches, such as:
(i) Increasing donor financial support, upon request, to water, sanitation and human settlements initiatives in developing countries;
(ii) Identifying and promoting innovative and sustainable means of financing;
(iii) Enhancing the sustainability of ecosystems that provide essential resources and services for human well-being and economic activity and developing innovative means of financing for their protection;
(iv) Encouraging the Bretton Woods institutions, the Global Environment Facility within its mandate and the regional banks to enhance their assistance to the water, sanitation and human settlements sectors;

(v) Establishing and promoting public-private and public-public partnerships;
(vi) Increasing allocations from national and subnational budgets;
(vii) Developing and supporting local financial institutions and markets, including pooled financial facilities, revolving funds, loan guarantees and microcredit facilities;
(viii) Providing support to regional and subregional initiatives such as the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development and the Meeting of Ministers of Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean;
(ix) Providing support for capacity-building in developing countries;
(x) Providing environmentally sound technology to developing countries in accordance with paragraph 105 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation;

E/CN.17/2005/12 - Report on the 13th session (30 April 2004 and 11-22 April 2005)

(y) Reaffirm that the Commission for Sustainable Development should continue to be the high-level commission responsible for sustainable development within the United Nations system;

(z) Also reaffirm the mandate of the Commission as stipulated in Agenda 21, General Assembly resolution 47/191 of 22 December 1992 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation as well as Economic and Social Council resolution 2003/61 of 25 July 2003 on the future programme, organization and methods of work of the Commission;
(aa) Support, strengthen and implement voluntary monitoring, reporting and assessment of the thematic areas of water, sanitation and human settlements at the national and regional levels and through existing mechanisms at the global level to keep track of progress in achieving sustainable development, bearing in mind the specific needs of developing countries, by the following measures:
(i) Improving data collection at all levels;
(ii) Enhancing the comparability of data at the regional and global levels;
(iii) Facilitating the contribution of major groups to national reporting activities;
(iv) Requesting the Commission secretariat to update the policy options and practical measures contained in the Chairman?s summary of the interactive discussions held at the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting, on a regular basis, so as to make it a living document, and to develop web-based tools to disseminate information on implementation and best practices;
(bb) Encourage Member States to continue to work on the development and application of indicators for sustainable development at the national level, including integration of gender aspects, on a voluntary basis, in line with their national conditions and priorities, and in this regard invites the international community to support the efforts of developing countries;

Follow-up on water and sanitation

(cc) Requests UN-Water to give equal consideration to the thematic issues for the Commission?s thirteenth session of sanitation and water in its terms of reference, and to promote, within its mandate, system-wide inter-agency cooperation and coordination among relevant United Nations organizations, funds and programmes on these issues, and requests the Secretary-General to include in his report to the Commission the activities of UN-Water as they relate to the aforementioned thematic areas, including the roles and responsibilities of relevant United Nations organizations, funds and programmes in implementing and monitoring the water and sanitation agenda, including identifying duplication, overlap and gaps;
4. Decides to devote, in 2008 and 2012, without prejudice to the programme, organization and methods of work of the Commission adopted at its eleventh session, a separate segment at the end of its review sessions, for a duration to be determined by the Bureau in advance, using one to two days as a benchmark, to monitor and follow up the implementation of decisions on water and sanitation, and their interlinkages, taken at the Commission?s thirteenth session;

Follow-up on human settlements

5. Requests UN-Habitat as the focal agency for human settlements, to facilitate, in close collaboration with relevant United Nations organizations and programmes as well as other partners, effective global monitoring of progress in the implementation of human settlements goals and targets, as well as measures agreed at the thirteenth session of the Commission concerning human settlements;
6. Calls upon Member States to strengthen the capacities of UN-Habitat to provide, within its mandate, increased assistance to developing countries, and countries with economies in transition, including through the current pilot phase of the Slum Upgrading Facility;

Follow-up on small island developing States

7. Decides, recalling the decision taken by the Commission at its eleventh session that small island developing States-related issues were to be both considered cross-cutting issues at each session of the Commission and included in the thematic cluster for the Commission in 2014/2015, to devote one day of the review sessions of the Commission to the review of the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States11 focusing on that year?s thematic cluster, as well as on any new developments regarding the sustainable development efforts of small island developing States using existing modalities. In this regard, the Secretary-General is requested to submit a report to the Commission at its review session concerning progress and obstacles in respect of sustainable development in small island developing States and making recommendations on enhancing its implementation.

E/CN.17/1998/20 - Report of the Commission on Sustainable Development on its 6th Session

Decision 6/1. Strategic approaches to freshwater management**
1. The Commission on Sustainable Development, having considered the reports of the
Secretary-General on strategic approaches to freshwater management3 and on the activities
of the organizations of the United Nations system in the field of freshwater resources,4
welcomes the report of the Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Working Group on Strategic Approaches
to Freshwater Management5 and the report of the Expert Group Meeting on Strategic

Approaches to Freshwater Management, held at Harare from 27 to 30 January 1998,6 and
takes note of the outcome of the International Dialogue Forum on Global Water Politics,
Cooperation for Transboundary Water Management, convened by the Government of Germany
at Petersberg, near Bonn, from 3 to 5 March 19987 and of the International Conference on
Water and Sustainable Development, convened by the Government of France in Paris from
19 to 21 March 1998.
2. The objectives of sustainable development and the links among its three components ?
economic and social development and environmental protection ? were clearly articulated
in Agenda 219 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.10 The specific
decisions and policy recommendations concerning the application of integrated approaches
to the development, management, use and protection of freshwater resources as elaborated
in chapter 18 of Agenda 21 and the seven key areas contained in that chapter continue to be
a fundamental basis for action and shall be implemented in accordance with the specific
characteristics of each country.
3. In this regard, the Commission reaffirms that water resources are essential for satisfying
basic human needs, health and food production, energy, and the restoration and maintenance
of ecosystems, and for social and economic development in general. Agriculture accounts
for a major part of global freshwater use. It is imperative that freshwater resources
development, use, management and protection be planned in an integrated manner, taking
into account both short- and long-term needs. Consequently, the priority to be accorded to
the social dimension of freshwater management is of fundamental importance. This should
be reflected in an integrated approach to freshwater in order to be coherent, aimed at achieving
truly people-centred sustainable development in accordance with their local conditions. It
is important that consideration of equitable and responsible use of water become an integral
part in the formulation of strategic approaches to integrated water management at all levels,
in particular in addressing the problems of people living in poverty. The development,
management, protection and use of water so as to contribute to the eradication of poverty and
the promotion of food security is an exceptionally important goal. The role of groundwater;
rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands; estuaries and the sea; and forests, other vegetation and
other parts of their ecosystems in the water cycle and their importance to water quality and
quantity should be acknowledged and protected. Another set of crucial issues relates to the
links between water quality, sanitation and protection of human health.
4. Since 1992, marked improvements in water quality have occurred in a number of river
basins and groundwater aquifers where pressures for action have been strong. However,
overall progress has been neither sufficient nor comprehensive enough to reduce general
trends of increasing water shortages, deteriorating water quality and growing stress on
freshwater ecosystems and on the natural hydrological cycle. Water must not become a limiting
factor for sustainable development and human welfare. A series of potential water-related
problems can be averted if appropriate action is taken now towards an integrated approach
to the efficient use, development, management, protection and use of freshwater resources.
5. Competition for limited freshwater increasingly occurs between agricultural, rural,
urban, industrial and environmental uses. In adopting the Programme for the Further
11 General Assembly resolution S-19/2.
Implementation of Agenda 21,11 in particular its paragraph 34, the General Assembly
recognized the importance of taking into account, while dealing with freshwater development
and management, the differing level of socio-economic development prevalent in developing
countries. The Assembly recognized, inter alia, the urgent need to formulate and implement
national policies of integrated watershed management in a fully participatory manner aimed
at achieving and integrating economic, social and environmental objectives of sustainable
development. In addition to agreeing to those strategic principles, the Assembly also
recognized the urgent need to strengthen international cooperation to support local, national
and regional action, in particular in the fields of environment and development, safe water
supply and sanitation, food security and agricultural production, energy, flood and drought
management, and recycling, through efforts in such areas as information exchange, capacitybuilding,
technology transfer and financing.
6. The process called for in the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21
should focus on fostering and supporting national, regional and international action in those
areas where goals and objectives have been defined; on the identification of existing gaps
and emerging issues; on the development of education and learning systems and also on
building global consensus where further understanding is required; and on promoting greater
coordination in approaches by the United Nations and relevant international institutions,
particularly in support of national implementation policies and development.
7. The implementation of integrated water resources development, management, protection
and use requires action at all levels, with the technical and financial support of the
international community. Those actions should be closely related to other areas of natural
resources management, including biodiversity, the coastal zone, agriculture, land, forestry
and mountain development. Effective integrated water resources management should
incorporate approaches dealing with river basins, watershed management and ecosystem
maintenance, where decision-making needs to be supported by education.
8. There is a need to put in place local and national management plans to bring about
productive and sustainable interactions between human activities and the ecological
functioning of freshwater systems based on the natural hydrological cycle, with the technical
and financial support of the international community. Such plans need to minimize the adverse
impacts of human activities on wetlands and coastal areas, estuarine and marine environments,
and in mountainous areas, and to reduce potential losses from droughts and floods, erosion,
desertification and natural disasters. Furthermore, sanitation, pollution prevention,
proliferation of aquatic weeds, especially water hyacinth, and the treatment and recycling of
waste water need to be addressed.
9. Local integrated water management plans require detailed assessment of water resources
requirements, including the exact nature of the demands and an estimate of the catchment
yield. In this regard, there is a need to reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of
production and consumption and to promote appropriate demographic policies.
10. The Commission therefore:
(a) Urges Governments, with the technical and financial support of the international
community, where appropriate, to address the numerous gaps identified in the path towards
integrated water resources development management, protection and use. Areas that require
further attention include (i) meeting basic health education needs and raising awareness of
the scope and function of surface and groundwater resources; (ii) the need for human resources
development and participatory approaches, notably including women and local communities
and integrating freshwater issues into local Agenda 21 processes; (iii) the role of ecosystems

12 The United Nations Water Conference, held at Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1977; the Global
Consultation on Safe Water and Sanitation for the 1990s, held at New Delhi in 1990; the World
Summit for Children, held in New York in 1990; the International Conference on Water and the
Environment, held at Dublin in 1992; the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, held at Rio de Janeiro in 1992; the Ministerial Conference on Drinking Water Supply
and Environmental Sanitation for the 1990s, held at Noordwijk, Netherlands in 1994; the
International Conference on Population and Development, held at Cairo in 1994; the Global
Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held at Bridgetown in
1994; the World Summit for Social Development, held at Copenhagen in 1995; the Fourth World
Conference on Women, held at Beijing in 1995; the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt a Global
Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, held
at Washington, D.C. in 1995; the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), held
at Istanbul in 1996; the World Food Summit, held in Rome in 1996; and the nineteenth special session
of the General Assembly, in 1997.

in the provision of goods and services; (iv) balancing structural and non-structural
approaches; (v) explicit linkages with socio-economic development, for equitable utilization
and efficient freshwater allocation and use; (vi) improved sanitation and waste-water treatment
and recycling; (vii) conserving the biological diversity of freshwater ecosystems; (viii)
conservation and sustainable use of wetlands; (ix) the understanding of hydrology and the
capacity to assess the availability and variability of water resources; (x) mobilization of
financial resources and mainstreaming of gender issues into all aspects of water resources
management; and (xi) wasteful water usage. Strategic and integrated actions are still needed
in order to adapt to ever-changing social and environmental circumstances and to address
fundamental concerns for combating poverty, ensuring adequate provision of public health,
food security and energy, and to protect the environment better. International cooperation
and action needs to address effectively the above issues, building on existing consensus for
the successful implementation of integrated water resources development, management,
protection and use;
(b) Encourages riparian States to cooperate on matters related to international
watercourses, whether transboundary or boundary, taking into account appropriate
arrangements and/or mechanisms and the interests of all riparian States concerned, relevant
to effective development, management, protection and use of water resources;
(c) Encourages riparian States, on the basis of mutual agreement and the common
interest of all riparian States concerned, to establish, where appropriate, organizations at the
river basin level for the implementation of water management programmes. Within its existing
guidelines, the Global Environment Facility is invited to consider supporting such
developments as part of its international water portfolio. All these actions should be
complemented by activities to support effective national water policies and strategies in the
developing countries affected by desertification and drought, particularly those in Africa;
(d) Encourages Governments, at the appropriate level, in accordance with the specific
characteristics of each country, to formulate and publish the main goals, long- and short-term
objectives and general principles of water policies and implement them by means of
comprehensive programmes. The implementation of local or national programmes should
form an important part of the local Agenda 21 approach;
(e) Encourages Governments, at the appropriate level, while formulating integrated
water resources management policies and programmes to implement relevant conventions
in force. In particular, the relevant conventions on biological diversity, desertification, climate
change, and wetlands and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora need to be considered. In addition, consideration should be given, as
appropriate, to relevant recommendations and/or programmes of action emanating from a
number of major international conferences and events.12 Furthermore, in formulating such
policies, the Commission invites Governments to address the need for achieving universal
access to water supply and sanitation, with poverty eradication being one of the objectives,
taking into account, in particular, chapter 18 of Agenda 21 and relevant recommendations
of conferences and events;
(f) Recognizes that expert meetings as well as international conferences provided
useful information and valuable inputs for intergovernmental deliberations and negotiations
at the sixth session of the Commission, and the importance of more such meetings being held
in developing countries. Invites Governments to consider, as appropriate, the key
recommendations stemming from the report of the Expert Group Meeting on Strategic
Approaches to Freshwater Management, held at Harare, and the outcome of the International
Conference on Water and Sustainable Development, held in Paris.
A. Information and data for decision-making
11. Information and data are key elements for assisting in the management and use of water
resources and in the protection of the environment. All States, according to their capacity and
available resources, are encouraged to collect, store, process and analyse water-related data
in a transparent manner and to make such data and forecasts publicly available in the
framework of a participatory approach. Because women have a particular role in utilizing
and conserving water resources on a daily basis, their knowledge and experience should be
considered as a component of any sustainable water management programme.
12. The Commission therefore:
(a) Encourages Governments to establish and maintain effective information and
monitoring networks and further promote the exchange and dissemination of information
relevant for policy formulation, planning, investment and operational decisions, including
data collected based on gender differences, where appropriate, regarding both surface water
and groundwater, and quantity, quality and uses, as well as related ecosystems, and to
harmonize data collection at the local catchment and the basin/aquifer levels. Information
concerning all relevant factors affecting demand is also essential;
(b) Stresses that effective management of water resources demands that attention be
paid to essential activities, all of which require fundamental knowledge about water resources
as well as information about water quality, quantity and uses, including (i) water resources
planning and watershed management at local and national levels; (ii) regulatory activities;
(iii) investments in infrastructure and technologies for remedying and preventing pollution;
and (iv) education and training;
(c) Encourages Governments to facilitate the collection and dissemination of water
data and documentation that enhances public awareness of important water-related issues,
to improve the understanding of meteorology and processes related to water quantity and
quality and the functioning of ecosystems, and to strengthen relevant information systems for
forecasting and managing uncertainty regarding water resources. Such efforts on the part of
developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, require support from the
international community;
(d) Encourages Governments to design programmes aimed at increasing public
awareness on the need to conserve, protect and use water sustainably and allow local
communities to participate in monitoring of water-related indicators. This information should
then be made available for community participation in decision-making;
13 Report of the United Nations Water Conference, Mar del Plata, 14?25 March 1977 (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.77.II.A.12), chap. I.
(e) Also encourages Governments, taking into account their financial and human
resources, to develop and implement national and local water-related indicators of progress
in achieving integrated water resources management, including water quality and quantity
objectives, taking into account ongoing work of the Commission on indicators of sustainable
development. In addition, in accordance with their policies, priorities and resources,
Governments may find it useful to carry out national water quality and quantity inventories
for surface water and groundwater, including the identification of gaps in available
(f) Invites Governments to establish or strengthen mechanisms for consultations on
drought and flood preparedness and early warning systems and mitigation plans at all
appropriate levels. Governments are encouraged to consider the establishment of rapid
intervention systems to ensure that individuals and communities can be assisted in recovering
from damage that they suffer from such extreme events. At the international level, in
particular, there is the need to maintain support of these activities at the conclusion of the
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction;
(g) Calls upon the international community, including the United Nations system,
to support national efforts in information and data collection and dissemination through
coordinated and differentiated action. In particular in their respective fields, United Nations
agencies and programmes and other international bodies should support Governments in the
development and coordination of relevant data and information networks at the appropriate
level, carry out periodic global assessments and analyses of water resources availability (both
quality and quantity) and changes in demand, assist in identifying water-related problems and
environmental issues, and promote the broadest exchange and dissemination of relevant
information, in particular to developing countries. Encourages access to, and exchange of,
information in user-friendly formats based on terminology easily understood.
B. Institutions, capacity-building and participation
13. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Urges Governments to establish national coordination mechanisms across all
sectors, as already envisaged in the Mar del Plata Action Plan,13 providing for contributions
from government and public authorities and the participation of civil society, including
communities affected, in the formulation and implementation of integrated water resources
development and management plans and policies. Such mechanisms should also provide for
participation by communities and water users. This involves the participation at the
appropriate levels, of water users and the public in planning, implementing and evaluating
water resources activities. It is particularly important to broaden women?s participation and
integrate gender analysis in water planning;
(b) Invites Governments to take the necessary steps to establish legislative and
regulatory frameworks ? and to improve such frameworks where they exist ? to facilitate
integrated water resources management and strategies, including both demand and supply
management as well as the links with the management of land use, taking into account the
need to build capacity to apply and enforce such frameworks. Each Government needs to
define its relevant functions and distinguish between those related to standards, regulationsetting
and control, on the one hand, and the direct management and provision of services,
on the other;
(c) Encourages Governments to consider how best to devolve responsibilities to the
lowest appropriate level for the organization and management of public water supply,
sanitation services and irrigation systems, as well as water resources management within the
framework of national water policies;
(d) Urges Governments to strengthen institutional and human capacities at the
national, subnational and local levels, in view of the complexity of implementing integrated
water resources development and management strategies, particularly in large urban
settlements. This could be done through local Agenda 21 processes, where they exist.
Effective water resources development, management and protection requires appropriate tools
for educating and training water management staff and water users at all levels and for
ensuring that women, youth, indigenous people and local communities have equal access to
education and training programmes. Design of these programmes should be done in
cooperation with stakeholders;
(e) Encourages Governments to establish an enabling environment to facilitate
partnerships between the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations,
aiming towards improved local capacity to protect water resources, through educational
programmes and public access to information. At the global level, appropriate existing
mechanisms can provide a universal forum for debate and the development of ideas. The
pivotal role of women should be reflected in institutional arrangements for the development,
management, protection and use of water resources. There is a need to strengthen the role
of women, who should have an equal voice with regard to water resources development,
management, protection and use and in the sharing of benefits;
(f) Encourages public authorities, public and private companies and nongovernmental
organizations dealing with the formulation, arrangement and financing of water
resources programmes to engage in a dialogue with users. This dialogue requires the sharing
of information with interested parties regarding the sustainable use of water and relationships
with land use, public access to information and data, and discussions on objectives and
implementation modalities, in accordance with the national legislation of each country;
(g) Calls upon the international community, in particular the organizations of the
United Nations system, especially the United Nations Development Programme, to strengthen
capacity-building programmes, taking into account the special needs of developing countries,
in particular the least developed countries, and the specific circumstances of small island
developing States, in areas such as training, institutional development and the participation
of women, youth, indigenous people and local communities in support of national efforts in
this field.
C. Technology transfer and research cooperation
14. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Encourages Governments to remove impediments to and stimulate research and
development cooperation, together with the development of technologies for sustainable water
management and use, and to increase efficiency, reduce pollution and proliferation of aquatic
weeds, especially water hyacinths, and promote sustainable agriculture and food production
systems. This also applies in the areas of desalination, brackish water treatment, waste-water
treatment, management of wetlands, drainage water reuse, improving the chemical quality
of groundwater, including the treatment of arsenic and other harmful heavy metals, and desert
dew catchment, and in the use of remote sensing techniques and other relevant modern
technologies in order to help increase the supplies of freshwater. All this involves the
adaptation and diffusion of new and innovative techniques and technologies, both private and
public, and the transfer of technologies to developing countries. In this context, the
Commission urges developed countries to strengthen research cooperation and to promote,
facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the access to and transfer of environmentally sound
technologies and the corresponding know-how to developing countries on favourable terms,
including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, taking into account the
need to protect intellectual property rights, as well as the special needs of developing countries
for the implementation of Agenda 21;
(b) Urges Governments, industry and international organizations to promote
technology transfer and research cooperation to foster sustainable agricultural practices that
promote efficient water use and reduce pollution of surface water and groundwater. These
technologies should include the improvement of crops grown on marginal sites, erosion
control practices and the adaptation of farming systems. They should also improve water use
efficiency in irrigated areas and improve the adaptation and productivity of drought-tolerant
crop species. Farmer participation in farm research, irrigation projects and watershed
management should be encouraged. Research results and technologies should be available
to both small and large producers;
(c) Urges Governments to promote innovative approaches to technology cooperation
projects involving partnerships between the public and private sectors within an effective
framework of regulation and supervision;
(d) Calls upon all relevant parties to develop and implement best practices and
appropriate technologies, taking into account the local conditions, in the area of water
development, management, protection and use. Codes of conduct, guidelines and other
voluntary agreements can enhance the positive role that industry and agriculture can play and
should cover the activities of companies operating and investing outside their home countries;
(e) Encourages Governments to make the best use of national, regional and
international environmentally appropriate technology centres. The use of local and traditional
technology and knowledge should be promoted and South/South cooperation encouraged;
(f) Encourages Governments to develop programmes linked to education, especially
those relating to water and land management. Water and land users and managers alike need
to become more aware of the need to control wastage and factors affecting demand and supply,
to realize the scarcity value of water, water-borne diseases and pollution, soil erosion and
deterioration, sedimentation and environmental protection;
(g) Urges donor countries and international organizations to intensify their efforts
and to accelerate their technical assistance programmes to developing countries, aimed at
facilitating the transfer and diffusion of appropriate technologies. The United Nations system,
as well as regional groupings, have an important role to play in facilitating the contact between
those in need of assistance and those able to provide it. Less formal arrangements may also
have a role to play.
D. Financial resources and mechanisms
15. The Commission reaffirms that, as stated in the Programme of Action for the Further
Implementation of Agenda 21, the current intergovernmental process on freshwater resources
can only be fully fruitful if there is a proved commitment by the international community for
the provision of new and additional financial resources to developing countries, in particular
to the least developed countries, for the goals of this initiative. Such financial resources, from
all sources, need to be mobilized for the development, management, protection and use of
freshwater resources if the broader aims of sustainable development are to be realized,
particularly in relation to poverty eradication. The effective and efficient use of resources
currently allocated to the freshwater sector is also important and could contribute in helping
to increase financial flows from both the public and the private sector.
16. Official development assistance should be provided for and complement, inter alia,
programmes and frameworks for promoting integrated water resources development,
management, protection and use that (a) meet basic needs; (b) safeguard public health;
(c) promote sustainable development and conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems;
and (d) build capacity. Donors, including multilateral donor institutions, should be ready to
continue, or even reinforce, the support for programmes and projects in the water sector that
will contribute to eradicating poverty. In this context, the Commission recalls that all financial
commitments of Agenda 21, particularly those contained in chapter 33, and the provisions
with regard to new and additional resources that are both adequate and predictable need to
be urgently fulfilled. Projects supported by donors should, where appropriate and possible,
become financially self-sustaining. Donors should also continue to support the freshwater
issues that are related to desertification, loss of biodiversity, loss of wetlands, drought, floods
and climate change.
17. The private sector represents one of the growing sources of investment in the water
sector. Local and national water management systems should be designed in ways that
encourage public and private partnerships. It is important to ensure that water management
systems are organized so that they will be sustainable and, once established, can support
themselves. It is important to encourage the participation of the private sector within the
framework of appropriate national policies. The adoption of enabling financial frameworks
contributes to promoting the mobilization of private sector finance. Official development
assistance has an important role in assisting developing countries to adopt appropriate policy
frameworks for water resources management.
18. For developing countries, the role of government regulation in the allocation of
freshwater resources remains important. Resources should be allocated and costs met in an
accountable and transparent manner. Costs should be covered either through cost recovery
or from public sector budgets. Cost recovery could be gradually phased in by water utilities
or the public authorities, taking into account the specific conditions of each country.
Transparent subsidies for specific groups, particularly people living in poverty, are required
in some countries. Governments could benefit from sharing experience in this regard.
Incentives may be necessary to promote land use practices appropriate to local conditions
in order to protect or rehabilitate freshwater resources of particularly sensitive areas, such
as mountainous regions and other fragile ecosystems.
19. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Invites Governments to strengthen consultative mechanisms between bilateral
and multilateral donors and recipient States aimed at improving or preparing schemes for
the mobilization of financial resources in a predictable manner, for meeting the need of priority
areas based on local and national programmes of action, with a special focus on integrated
water resources development, management, protection and use, while recognizing the needs
of vulnerable groups and people living in poverty;
(b) Calls for initiatives to be undertaken to help identify and mobilize more
resources ? human, technical (know-how) and financial ? and take into account the 20/20
initiative, especially in the programme of poverty eradication, in accordance with national
policies and in the light of specific provisions and commitments on resources related to water
14 All references to the platforms for or programmes of action of major conferences should be considered
in a manner consistent with the reports of those conferences.
issues made at recent United Nations conferences.14 A fundamental aim must be to promote
the generation of the resources needed for economically and environmentally sound water
supply and recycling, irrigation, energy, sanitation and water management systems, including
the control of aquatic weeds, especially water hyacinths, and their efficient and effective
(c) Invites Governments to allocate sufficient public financial resources for the
provision of safe and sustainable water supply and sanitation to meet basic human needs and
for waste-water treatment. These resources should be complementary to the technical and
financial support of the international community;
(d) Urges Governments, when using economic instruments for guiding the allocation
of water, to take into particular account the needs of vulnerable groups, children, local
communities and people living in poverty, as well as environmental requirements, efficiency,
transparency, equity and, in the light of the specific conditions of each country, at the national
and local levels, the polluter-pays principle. Such instruments need to recognize the special
role of women in relation to water in many societies;
(e) Urges Governments to initiate a review of existing financial support arrangements
in order to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. Such a review should aim at the
mobilization of financial resources from all sources, particularly international financial
resources, in a predictable manner, based on local and national action plans, with a specific
focus on integrated water resources development, management, use and protection
programmes and policies. In this context, both formal and informal arrangements could have
a role to play. International financial support will continue to be important to the development
of local and national water management systems. Governments, with the technical and
financial support of the international community, need to promote the economic, social and
environmental values provided by ecosystems and examine the short- and long-term cost of
their degradation;
(f) Calls upon the international community to intensify its efforts and to consider new
initiatives, within appropriate existing mechanisms, for mobilizing financial resources to
promote efforts of developing countries in the integrated management, development,
distribution, protection and use of water resources. Particular attention should be given to
the following aspects:
(i) Promoting more effective donor coordination and more effective and creative use
of existing resources;
(ii) Generation of new and additional financial resources from all sources;
(iii) Identification of appropriate sources of direct grants and loans on concessional
(iv) Quantification of the resources required to meet the needs of developing countries;
(v) Resources contributions by industrialized countries and international financial
institutions, including regional institutions;
(vi) Formulation of financial strategies that include possible partnerships with nongovernmental
organizations and the private sector and the promotion of conditions for
increased private financial flows;
(vii) Strengthening of consultative mechanisms, especially at the subregional and
regional levels, by Governments and the international community aimed at making
freshwater a development priority and at improving dialogue between industrialized
and developing countries in a well-targeted and predictable manner, based on national
action plans, with a special focus on sustainable and integrated water resources
management that recognizes the needs of all stakeholders, especially vulnerable groups
and people living in poverty. This could include exploring the potential of new financial
Follow-up and assessment
20. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Invites Governments to continue to provide voluntary national communication
or reports on actions they have taken towards the development and implementation of national
strategies and programmes in integrated water resources development, management and
protection. Requests the Secretariat to continue collecting, analysing and disseminating
national information on this implementation and to ensure that data is gender-differentiated
whenever possible. Also requests the Secretariat, in reporting to the Commission, to make
a more comprehensive use of the information already provided by Governments through their
national reports and to promote exchanges of such information and further develop relevant
(b) Encourages Governments to work together at appropriate levels to improve
integrated water resources management. The overall aim should be to ensure effective
arrangements for cooperation between Governments to promote the implementation of policies
and strategies at the local and national levels. Possibilities should also be identified for joint
projects and missions;
(c) Recognizes the important tasks for United Nations agencies and programmes and
other international bodies in helping developing countries to implement their integrated water
resources development, management and protection programmes and policies. It invites the
Subcommittee on Water Resources of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, as task
manager for chapter 18 of Agenda 21, to make its work more transparent through, inter alia,
regular briefings to Governments, to enhance coordination within the United Nations system
and to accelerate the implementation of chapter 18 by considering action to, inter alia:
(i) Identify gaps or inconsistencies in the implementation of programmes of its
constituent organizations by assessing the main features and effectiveness of the
implementation of those activities and ensure that the mainstreaming of gender
perspectives is appropriately included;
(ii) Increase efficiency in programme delivery and possibilities for joint programming;
(iii) Explore the potential of cooperation arrangements and, where appropriate, take
into account the experience gained in existing programmes in the United Nations
(d) Invites the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Commission, prior to its
eighth session, on progress of the Subcommittee on Water Resources of the Administrative
Committee on Coordination, as task manager of chapter 18 of Agenda 21, on the activities
mentioned in the above paragraph;
(e) Stresses the importance of coordination of policies and activities of the specialized
agencies and other bodies of the United Nations system related to freshwater, including clean
and safe water supply and sanitation, and, given the seriousness of the situation, emphasizes
the need to provide close attention to the effects of disposal of toxic substances, including
arsenic contamination of drinking water supplies, and persistent organic pollutants upon water
resources, as recommended by the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session
of 1997;
(f) Invites the United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with other
relevant United Nations bodies, to play a vital role in providing inputs through the provision
of technical and scientific advice on environmental aspects of the sustainable development
of freshwater resources. In the field of freshwater, the Programme could focus on assisting
countries, especially developing countries, in strengthening their ability in this regard, in
technology transfer and environmental institutional strengthening and in responding to
requests for assistance in strengthening integrated river basin management. The potential of
the Global Environment Monitoring System and other relevant global monitoring networks
should be fully utilized. Such activities would provide an effective contribution to the work
of the Commission;
(g) Encourages Governments, in cooperation with relevant organizations, to organize
meetings aimed at identifying problems to be resolved, articulating priorities for action and
exchanging experience and best practices and to facilitate progress in implementing the
present decision. Such meetings are invited to inform the Commission of their conclusions
in order to contribute to its work;
(h) Recognizes the need for periodic assessments of the success of strategic
approaches to the sustainable development, management, protection and use of freshwater
resources in achieving the goals described in chapter 18 of Agenda 21 and for a global picture
of the state of freshwater resources and potential problems;
(i) Invites the Subcommittee on Water Resources of the Administrative Committee
on Coordination, as task manager for chapter 18 of Agenda 21, to arrange the compilation
and publication of such assessments.

E/CN.17/1994/20 - Report of the CSD on its 2nd Session

3. Freshwater

133. The Commission notes with great concern that many countries are facing a
water crisis, with rapid deterioration of water quality, serious water shortages
and reduced availability of freshwater, which severely affect human health, the
ecosystem and economic development, due to:
(a) Increasing water demand, inappropriate water resource management and a
lack of groundwater protection, particularly in agriculture and in and around
areas of urban concentration;
(b) Natural and man-made causes of water shortages, such as periodic
droughts, falling water tables, changing weather patterns, a reduced capacity of
soils in some areas to retain moisture due to land degradation within catchment
areas, and land degradation generally;
(c) A lack of public awareness about the need for conservation of
freshwater supplies, especially safe drinking water, and for proper sanitation,
associated with a lack of recognition of water as a finite resource, a social
and economic good and an essential part of ecosystems.

134. The Commission is concerned that the water crisis infringes the basic human
needs of present and future generations.

135. The Commission realizes that the crisis needs urgent and concrete action by
national Governments as well as international organizations in order to
implement chapter 18 of Agenda 21, particularly by supporting developing

136. The Commission recommends that countries give priority attention to the
integrated management, mobilization and use of water resources in a holistic
manner, while stressing the importance of the involvement of local communities,
in particular of women.

137. The Commission calls for water to be considered as an integral part of the
ecosystem, a natural resource and a social and economic good, the quantity and
quality of which determines the nature of its utilization for the benefit of
present and future generations.

138. The Commission recommends that the conservation and sustainable use of
water should be given high priority, and invites the Subcommittee on Water
Resources of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) to initiate
model projects, to be carried out by relevant agencies, in order to examine and
exemplify the feasibility of water-saving strategies in water-intensive
agricultural, industrial, urban and domestic sectors.

139. The Commission realizes that, in order to create changes through the new
approaches brought about by Agenda 21, special attention should be given to:
(a) The mobilization and integrated management of water, including
pollution minimization and prevention, taking into account implications for
health, the environment, social and economic policy and spatial planning;
(b) Investigations into the environmental flow requirements necessary to
maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and the development of integrated
institutional methodologies for that purpose;
(c) The integrated management and conservation of river and lake basins,
nationally, internationally and at all appropriate levels;
(d) The involvement of those people that were most directly affected by
water management strategies in the planning of water infrastructure projects;
(e) Efforts to enable the integrated management of water at the lowest
appropriate level and shifting to a system of sustainable demand management;
(f) The implementation of the polluter pays principle, pricing water to
equal its full costs while taking into account the special condition of the
poor, and the prevention of wasteful consumption;
(g) The encouragement of partnership projects between all parties
(h) The promotion of a gender-perspective in water resources management;
(i) The modification of patterns of behaviour towards clean water and
hygiene, including the promotion of educational programmes in that sphere;
(j) The promotion of greater efficiency of sustainable water use, water
conservation and protection, particularly in agriculture, and the increased
application of rainwater-harvesting techniques;
(k) The conservation and sustainable management of forests, including the
promotion of afforestation as a significant means of halting soil degradation
and increasing moisture retention;
(l) The bridging of the gap between physical, human and financial
resources and the escalating demand for water and the need for sanitation;
(m) The search for innovations, both technological and non-technological,
to protect our finite and vulnerable water resources, as well as the sharing of
such innovative technologies on a global basis, in particular with developing
(n) The use of environmental impact assessments with a multidisciplinary
and multisectoral approach as a decision-making tool in water resources

140. The Commission urges Governments to mobilize, within the framework
established by chapter 33 of Agenda 21, adequate financial resources, through
the use of all available sources and mechanisms, as well as maximizing the
availability and smooth flow of additional resources, to implement chapter 18 of
Agenda 21, and urges United Nations agencies and programmes to provide the
necessary technical assistance, particularly to developing countries.

141. The Commission stresses the importance of capacity-building and the
strengthening of institutional and human resource development programmes, in
particular in developing countries, as an essential condition for efficient
water management, mobilization and protection; priority should be given to the
participation of women and youth at all levels of capacity-building. In that
respect, the Commission takes note of a constituent meeting of the International
Network of Basin Organizations, held in Chambéry, France from 4 to 6 May 1994.

142. The Commission encourages the involvement of the private sector, the
utilization of the "build-operate-transfer" approach and public-private
partnerships in water-related projects undertaken through foreign direct
investment, international financial institutions, United Nations agencies,
bilateral assistance and partnership projects between stakeholders.

143. The Commission takes note, with appreciation, of the outcome of the
International Ministerial Conference on Drinking Water and Environmental
Sanitation, hosted by the Government of the Netherlands (Noordwijk, 22 and
23 March 1994) and of the results of the Round Table on Water and Health in
Underprivileged Urban Areas hosted by the Government of France (Sophia
Antipolis, 21-23 February 1994).

144. The Commission endorses the Action Programme presented in the annex to
document E/CN.17/1994/12 as one of the main instruments for implementing
programme area D of chapter 18 of Agenda 21.

145. The Commission requests that countries include in their 1997 national
reports a specific section on national goals and strategies in the field of
drinking water and environmental sanitation, including, as appropriate, target
dates, with a view to the implementation of the Action Programme and with the
assistance of international organizations.

146. The Commission invites Governments to assist on a voluntary basis in the
furtherance of chapter 18 of Agenda 21 and to report on those activities to the
Commission in 1997. It welcomes in that respect the offer already made by
France, Morocco, the Netherlands and Tunisia regarding the implementation of the
Action Programme.

147. The Commission welcomes the work carried out by the organizations of the
United Nations system through the ACC Subcommittee on Water Resources with
regard to the systematic collection and analysis of information.
148. In that context, the Commission urges the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World
Health Organization (WHO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in
collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World
Bank and other relevant United Nations bodies, as well as non-governmental
organizations, to strengthen their efforts towards a comprehensive assessment of
freshwater resources, with the aim of identifying the availability of such
resources, making projections of future needs, and identifying problems to be
considered by the special session of the General Assembly in 1997.

149. The Commission recommends to the Economic and Social Council that it invite
the Committee on Natural Resources to address the question of freshwater as part
of the comprehensive assessment at its third session in 1996.

150. The Commission invites Governments to cooperate actively with technical
inputs to the process, taking into account the need for support for the full
participation of developing countries, and welcomes the offer of the Government
of Sweden to contribute by preparing a preliminary assessment of freshwater.

151. The Commission decides to review, at its 1997 session, the result of all
the work outlined in paragraphs 148-150 above, in preparation for the 1997
special session of the General Assembly.

152. The Commission requests the Secretary-General to strengthen coordination
within the United Nations system with a view to concentrating and consolidating
the great amount of international action in the field of water, including the
implementation of chapter 18 of Agenda 21, and to report to the Economic and
Social Council.

153. The Commission further recommends to the Economic and Social Council that
it consider the issue at its coordination segment in 1995.

154. The Commission welcomes the Programme of Action for the Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States and urges that adequate support be
given to various strategies identified in the Programme of Action to address
water resources issues, in particular those related to water supply and
environmental sanitation, as well as the health dimension of water quality.

155. The Commission recommends that future international conferences, such as
the International Conference on Population and Development, the World Summit for
Social Development, the Fourth World Conference on Women, the United Nations
Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and others, take into account
relevant international agreements on water resources issues, in particular those
related to water supply and environmental sanitation, as well as the health
dimension of water quality.

156. The Commission invites the Secretary-General to transmit the above
recommendations to those conferences.

United Nations