2015 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference. Water and Sustainable Development: From Vision to Action. 15-17 January 2015

The action: Governance frameworks

The enabling environment, including effective institutions and management instruments, eases the formulation and implementation of relevant policies and plans. It responds directly to the Rio+20 outcome, which called for significant improvements in the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management at all appropriate levels. Only through an integrated approach can the allocation of water resources benefit the many and not the few. Water governance is essential to balance available resources with demands from a multitude of often conflicting water users as well as ensuring critical ecosystems continue to maintain the resource base.

Water governance has been defined as “the range of political, social, economic and administrative systems that are in place to develop and manage water resources, and the delivery of water services, at different levels of society” (Effective Water Governance Rogers and Hall, 2003). Its importance for the new development framework has been stressed by many international organizations, including the UN, OECD and World Bank.

Participatory mechanisms and accountability will help to address disparities in service provision and help policy makers to focus on inequity and its deeper causes. A universal approach is proposed that tackles both inequalities and sustainability (ensuring intergenerational equity), and respects the human right to water and sanitation services (A Post-2015 Global Goal for Water: Synthesis of key findings and recommendations from UN-Water. UN-Water, 2014).

Appropriate governance measures, such as regulation and enforcement of agreed standards, are essential to ensure overall quality of water bodies over time. Controlling pollution will improve water quality in rivers and lakes as well as support ecosystem functioning by reducing organic and mineral nutrients that deplete the oxygen supply (UN-Water, 2014).

Strengthening water governance will require a concerted programme of education, knowledge and skills development, including a focus on youth and women. The collection, analysis, and use of sex-disaggregated data, gender statistics and other social data are necessary to check that meeting the targets removes inequalities; tools for project preparation, monitoring, and management will also need to be developed to enable effective implementation to take place (UN-Water, 2014).

>> Governance: key tools and lessons learnt from implementationPDF document

>> Governance challenges and suggested tools for the implementation of the water-related Sustainable Development Goals PDF document

>> Conference Home

About the Conference

>> Conveners and partners
>> Objectives and expected outcomes
>> Conference flyerPDF Document
>> AgendaPDF Document
>> StructurePDF Document
>> ParticipantsPDF Document


>> Accommodation
>> Travelling to Zaragoza
>> Your stay in Zaragoza
>> Map

The vision

>> Rio+20
>> Water and sustainable development
>> Global commitments on water
>> A post-2015 global goal for water
>> Water and the Open Working Group (OWG)
>> The role of actors involved

The action

>> Capacity development
>> Financing and economic instruments
>> Governance frameworks
>> Technology

Action on…

>> Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
>> Water Resources Management
>> Water Quality
>> Risk management

14 January: Pre-Conference Side events and Technical Visits

>> Technical visit: La Cartuja
>> Technical visit: The Ebro River Basin Authority and its Automatic System for Hydrologic Information (SAIH)
>> Technical visit: Expo + Water Park
>> New sources: Wastewater reuse
>> Local level actions in decentralized water solidarity towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
>> Water Footprint Assessment
>> Technological advances and Water Policy
>> Cultivando Agua Boa Programme
>> CODIA and water and energy in LAC
>> The fulfillment of the human right to water and sanitation

15 January: Setting the scene and the context

>> Achieving sustainable water for all in LAC
>> Achieving water security for Asia and the Pacific
>> Ensuring implementation of the water-related SDGs in Europe
>> Setting the scene

16 January: Whose action?

>> Academia
>> Business
>> Civil society
>> Governments and local authorities
>> Media and Communicators

17 January: Integrating knowledge and the way forward

>> Multi-stakeholder dialogue on tools for implementation


>> Cases
>> Conference daily
>> Conference Communications ReportPDF Document
>> Discussion forum
>> Information briefs on Water and Sustainable Development
>> Interviewing conference participants
>> Overview Papers
>> Presentations from participants
>> Session Reports
>> Tool Papers
>> Toolbox
>> Twitter Activity Report
>> Video recording of sessions
>> Video interviews with conference participants

Promotional materials

>> Conference banners
>> Conference posterPDF document