Water policy – innovations for resilience

Project description

Title: Sector Programme Water Policy - Innovations for Resilience (WaPo-RE)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-financed by: EU cofinancing through the EU Commission's Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA)
Country: Global, Latin America, Caribbean, Niger River basin, Middle East, North Africa, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Chad
Overall term: 2020 to 2023

1. Das Sektorvorhaben koordiniert jährlich die deutsche Delegation bei der größten Konferenz im Sektor, der Stockholmer Weltwasserwoche. Copyright: GIZ/ Lacramioara Stroe Ziegler


Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are fundamental to public health worldwide. According to the United Nations (UN), 2.2 billion people have no reliable access to clean drinking water and 4.2 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. High population growth, the effects of climate change on the annual amount and frequency of precipitation and the increase in extreme weather events are adversely affecting water availability and quality. Rapid urbanisation, increasing industrial and economic development and land use changes are also contributing to a worsening of the water situation. Experts predict that the global demand for water will increase by more than 50 percent by 2050.

Water is prominent on the international stage (Sustainable Development Goal 6 of the 2030 Agenda) and also plays a key role in reaching the other Goals, such as health and well-being (SDG 3), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), and climate protection measures (SDG 13). Germany as one of the three largest intergovernmental donors in the water sector is guided by the cross-linking strategies of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Interdisciplinary and innovative approaches such as One Health contribute to the improvement of water security for livelihoods and ecosystems and serve as a basis for sustainable economic development. The project uses an integrated approach to ensure water, energy and food security is politically institutionalised and the interest of investors in the projects is promoted.

2. Das Sektorvorhaben erarbeitet innovative Konzepte für den Wassersektor. Frauen beim Wasser holen an einem Wasserkiosk in Tansania. Copyright: GIZ/Till Müllenmeister


The project supports BMZ with technical advice and the development of concepts, specifically through innovations and financing. By way of German and international cooperation organisations, it integrates these approaches into policy documents, development strategies, project plans and investments, and implements them in partner countries through other development cooperation programmes.

Among other things, the project seeks to promote resilient water and sanitation infrastructure and to improve the availability of water resources in response to pandemics and the effects of climate change. With the help of One Health approaches, the spread of diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans could be prevented. To this end, the project is developing innovative, nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and the protection and restoration of biological diversity. This is intended to ensure the health of people, animals and ecosystems. 

Additionally, the project works on concepts to promote good governance. For example, it applies the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (WEF-Nexus) approach to address interrelated supply risks in the water, energy and food sectors. This approach combines energy generation and food security with integrated water resources management. It thereby contributes to the resolution of conflicts over resources, often across borders, and strengthens disaster and pandemic preparedness. The project is also providing WEF-Nexus-based water management advice for Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River, and working on the improvement of security and climate resilience in fragile regions of the Sahel.

To improve water security and increase private sector involvement in solving water-related development issues, the project seeks to strengthen cooperation between water and sanitation operator and stewardship representatives. Furthermore, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is preparing a mentoring concept for female specialists and managers in the water sector and supports networking events for women.

Grafische Darstellung zur Biodiversität


The project supports the development of new mechanisms that promote and finance access to a secure water supply and sanitation and combines efforts to establish them within the international policy dialogue. A new fund is currently being developed in cooperation with the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, with the aim of using funds to support water utilities in partner countries more effectively, efficiently and with a greater impact on poverty.

The project has made a targeted effort to include the close links between water and climate in international discourse. As a result, the crucial importance of water management has been anchored in adaptation and mitigation measures at the annual UN Climate Change Conferences and the Global Commission on Adaptation.

Trainings carried out for more than 780 international, regional and national representatives from policy, civil society and academia have boosted awareness of the WEF-Nexus approach and its usefulness. By providing policy advice in its partner regions, the project has helped incorporate the interdependencies between the water, energy and food sectors into political decisions in order to ensure that resources are used in a more efficient and sustainable manner.

Last updated: February 2021