‘Water for Life’ UN-Water Best Practices Award


The prize is awarded yearly in two categories, one in 'best water management practices' and another one in 'best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices'

Category 1: Best water management practices

  1. The best practice must have substantially contributed to the improvement of the living environment on a sustainable basis, especially to the living conditions of the poorest and most disadvantaged groups of society, and demonstrate a positive impact. Possible impacts to be considered include but are not limited to:
    1. Improvement of health conditions;
    2. Improvements in disaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation;
    3. More effective and efficient administrative, management and information systems;
    4. Social integration and reduction of exclusion;
    5. Gender equality and equity in decision-making, resource-allocation and programme design and implementation;
    6. Community participation in decision making and resource allocation.
  2. The best practice must have made an outstanding contribution to the sustainable management of water. Contributions to be considered include but are not limited to:
    1. IWRM;
    2. Adaptation to climate change;
    3. Improvement in water quality, decrease in water pollution;
    4. Increase in water efficiency;
    5. Improvement in water governance; and
    6. Protection and conservation of natural resources and of the environment, e.g. establishment and management of protected areas of special importance for the water cycle.
  3. The best practice results in lasting changes in at least one of the following areas:
    1. Legislation, regulatory frameworks, by-laws or standards formally recognising the issues and problems that have been addressed;
    2. Institutional frameworks and decision-making processes that assign clear roles and responsibilities to various levels and groups of actors, such as central and local governmental organisations and community-based organisations; and
    3. Efficient, transparent and accountable management systems that make more effective use of human, technical, financial and natural resources.
  4. The best practice should be based on a partnership between at least two of the following actors:
    1. Government organisation or agency, including bilateral aid agencies;
    2. City, local authority;
    3. Non-governmental organisation (NGOs);
    4. Community-based organisation (CBOs);
    5. Private Sector (e.g. water operators);
    6. Research and academic institution;
    7. Media;
    8. Public or private foundation;
    9. Educational institution.
  5. The best practice includes social policies and/or sectoral strategies that have the ability to be up scaled.
  6. Additional criteria:
    1. Empowerment of the community to maintain water services and infrastructures;
    2. How others have learnt or benefited from the initiative;
    3. Means used for sharing or transferring knowledge, expertise and lessons learnt.

Category 2: Best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practices

The following specific selection criteria will be applied to Category 2 candidatures:

  1. The ability, as demonstrated in the proposal narrative, to improve participatory practices and communicate clearly and effectively.
  2. Leadership in inspiring action and change;
  3. The best practice must have made an outstanding and tangible contribution to improving participation and developing awareness on water and sanitation issues. Possible impacts to be considered include but are not limited to:
    1. Increased stakeholder engagement in specific actions.
    2. Increase of community awareness on proper use of water and sanitation in daily life;
    3. Increase of community understanding of the water existing situation, causes for the situation, its linkages to food security and related challenges;
    4. Increased awareness of environmental sanitation.
  4. The best practice has been successful in developing awareness on water and sanitation issues among most disadvantaged groups of society, particularly:
    1. The impoverished people;
    2. People with low levels of literacy;
    3. People with disabilities;
    4. Women; and
    5. Indigenous people.
  5. The best practice has contributed to education through child/adult literacy and post literacy programs.
  6. The best practice has been successful in proposing the most appropriate formats for the target audience. This could include:
    1. Community group meetings;
    2. Street drama/cultural programmes;
    3. Talk/interaction programmes;
    4. Group discussions;
    5. Radio, TV programmes, video documentaries;
    6. Seminars/workshops;
    7. Publication of wall newspapers; and
    8. Distribution of posters, leaflets, etc.
  7. Community perceptions have been considered and integrated within the communication, education or awareness-raising initiative.
  8. The best practice has contributed to change people's attitudes and/or behaviours.
  9. The best practice is associated with a water supply and/or sanitation project.
  10. The best practice has helped people to exchange experiences, learn from each other and/or encouraged dialogue and debate.
  11. The best practice has resulted in effective changes in water management practices.