'Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practices Award: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About the Award

  1. 1. How and when was the Award established?
  2. 2. Who established the Award?
  3. 3. What is the purpose of the Award?
  4. 4. How is the focus theme of the Award chosen every year?
  5. 5. How often is the Prize awarded?
  6. 6. What are the Award categories?
  7. 7. What is the timetable for the 2015 edition?


  1. 8. Who is eligible to nominate a candidate?
  2. 9. May I nominate myself?
  3. 10. Can the same organization nominate more than one project?


  1. 11. Who can apply?
  2. 12. How do I apply?
  3. 13. Can I submit a nomination even if the nomination deadline has passed?
  4. 14. Can an individual apply?
  5. 15. Is there a fee to apply for the Award?
  6. 16. In which languages can I submit my application?
  7. 17. May candidates who applied in previous years who did not receive the award apply for subsequent editions of the Award?
  8. 18. May I submit my candidature to more than one category?

Evaluation and selection process

  1. 19. Who were the candidates to previous editions of the Award?
  2. 20. What are the evaluation criteria?
  3. 21. Who evaluates the submissions?
  4. 22. Who is on the selection committee?


  1. 23. How and when can I know if my project has been awarded?
  2. 24. When will the 2015 shortlisted candidates and winners be announced?
  3. 25. If I am a winner, will my travel expenses to the ceremony be covered?
  4. 26. Who won in previous years?

The Award

  1. 27. What kind of prize is awarded?
  2. 28. When is the Prize awarded?

General questions

  1. 29. How can I contact the Award Secretariat?

About the Award

The 'Water for Life' UN-Water Best Practices Award was established in 2010 and launched for the first time in December 2010 during the International Conference 'Sustainable Water Management in Cities: engaging stakeholders for effective change and action', Zaragoza, Spain.

The Award was established by UN-Water and is organized by United Nations Office to Support the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005-2015/UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) and the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP).

The purpose of the Award is to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and related issues by 2015 through recognition of outstanding best practices that can ensure the long-term sustainable management of water resources and contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed goals and targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Every year, special emphasis is being put on the theme selected for next World Water Day. In accordance with the theme selected for World Water Day 2015, the focus of the 2014 edition is on Water and Sustainable Development.

The Prize is awarded annually.

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

  • 4 July 2014: Launching of 5th edition of the Award.
  • 4 July to 30 September 2014: Application period.
  • 30 September 2014: Deadline for amendments and receiving hard copies.
  • From 30 September to 15 October 2014: The Award Secretariat processes all applications received.
  • 15 October 2014: TAC members start the evaluation process.
  • 15 November 2014: Evaluation from TAC members is sent to the Jury.
  • 15 December 2014: Jury members select winners.
  • 22 March 2015: Public announcement of winners on UN official celebrations for World Water Day.


Any independent organisation with sufficient knowledge about the candidate can nominate a candidate. You need to state your professional and/or business connection in relation to the best practice to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Individuals cannot nominate candidates.

Self-nominations are not accepted. Candidatures must be submitted through an independent nominating organisation.



The Award is open to projects or programmes achieving particularly effective results in the field of water management or in raising awareness in water issues.

The candidatures must be submitted through an independent nominating organisation in a letter of well reasoned justification, signed and dated by the presenter and accompanied by an application form duly filled. The letter should indicate the reasons why the candidature should be selected, describe background that corresponds to the objectives and criteria of the Award, and provide an assessment of the results achieved. Letters may be submitted in any of the official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish).

No late submissions are accepted. The application period for the 2015 edition closes on 15 September 2014.

The Award is not open to individuals or organisations but to projects, programmes or initiatives that can be implemented by an individual or by an organisation.

There is no fee to apply for the Award.

Applications may be submitted in any of the official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish).

Yes they can.

Yes, but your application will be considered for one category by the Evaluation Committee.

Evaluation and selection process

The full lists of candidates to the 2014 edition, 2013 edition, 2012 edition, and 2011 edition of the Award are available online.

Evaluation criteria are available online.

All submissions complying with the reporting format are forwarded to an independent international Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for review. This advisory committee evaluates the submitted best practices based on a set of evaluation criteria. The TAC reviews all submissions and prepares a comprehensive report including a description of the selection process. This evaluation report is then forwarded to an international Jury for their assessment and final selection of the Award recipients. The Best Practices Jury reviews the TAC evaluation to select those initiatives deserving the "Water for Life" Best Practices Award.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the International Jury is formed by international experts of proven distinction in the water and communication sector from international organizations, initiatives, universities and Think Tanks, among others. Composition of TAC and Jury for the 2015 edition of the Award will be available online in due time.


Only selected projects are contacted.

Shortlisted candidates and winners are announced at a special ceremony during official UN celebrations for World Water Day 2014on 22 March 2015.

The Award includes an invitation to participate in the UN event celebrated on the occasion of World Water Day, including travel and accommodation for one representative of the winning practice, one per category. These expenses will be covered by the organizers.

Information about finalists and winners of the 1st edition of the Award is available online; as well as information on finalists and winners for 2nd edition, on finalists and winners for 3rd edition, and on finalists and winners for 4th edition.

The Award

The Award consists of:

  1. An invitation to participate in the UN event celebrated on the occasion of World Water Day, including travel and accommodation for one representative of the winning practice, one per category;
  2. Production of a video on each of the winning best practice categories. These videos will be included in the UN database of good practices;
  3. A certificate especially designed for the award.

The prize is awarded at a UN special ceremony on World Water Day, 22 March.

General questions

The selection committee will not enter into any correspondence, but queries on procedure can be directed to the Award Secretariat by e-mail at water-decade@un.org.