Sustainable Water Policy

Project description

Title: Sustainable Water Policy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); European Commission (co-financing for the nexus component)
Country: Global projects, convention/sector/pilot project, Latin America, North Africa, Middle East & Niger River basin
Lead executing agency: League of Arab States (LAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) and in Asia with the Mekong River Commission, (MRC) (in the pipeline) and with the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS)
Overall term: 2017 to 2019

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


One of the central challenges of the 21st century is to ensure the long-term availability of water and to provide a growing world population with sufficient clean water for its development. The human right of access to water and sanitation is not yet reality in many regions of the world. Population growth, economic growth, climate change and urbanisation are increasing the pressure on water resources which are limited at global and local level. The latest figures cited by the United Nations speak of 2.1 billion people without access to safe drinking water and 4.5 billion without access to safely managed sanitation. The global water demand is expected to increase by more than 50% by 2050.

The international community is developing solutions to these challenges in policy-making processes. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations are pointing the way forward. As one of the main donors, Germany is heavily involved internationally in the process of developing strategies and making decisions.

There is an urgent need to identify, disseminate and implement positions, concepts and approaches to achieve the water-related SDGs at international and national level. The water strategy adopted by BMZ (2017) is the reference point for German development cooperation. Concepts and innovative approaches in German development cooperation are not sufficiently anchored in the public and political sphere or in the international arena at present. The interlinkages between water, energy and food security (nexus perspective), which must be taken into account to address the challenges in the water sector, are not sufficiently anchored in policies or programmes because regional priorities are still afforded too little attention and because knowledge sharing needs to be increased.

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


  1. Concepts and innovative approaches for implementing the BMZ water strategy are anchored in German development cooperation, in the public and political sphere and in international political discourse.
  2. The water, energy and food security nexus is anchored in policies and programmes at both international and national level in development strategies and project planning.


The sector project will support BMZ by way of expert advice. It will develop concepts and innovative approaches for the implementation of the BMZ water strategy. These will include financing and governance models which will make secure access to water and sanitation realistically achievable, as well as measures to adapt to climate change through interventions in the water sector.

 The results will be fed into international processes, and experiences of German development cooperation will be revisited. The project will work on interfaces between the water sector and other sectors depending on BMZ’s policy priorities. Expert advice will also be provided on the overlapping issues raised in the water strategy. The aim is to increase the visibility of water issues in development cooperation in the international and national political and public sphere in various ways, such as through the use of new media.

In a bid to achieve the second objective, the sector project will support BMZ and the European Union in setting the agenda through international dialogue on the water, energy and food security nexus with regional organisations through initiatives referred to as the Nexus Dialogues. The processes are controlled by a Global Nexus Secretariat which acts as a central coordination office. A central knowledge platform serves as an umbrella under which the regional processes can link up and connect with other global initiatives and key players. A discussion is taking place at ministerial level on the need for integrated solutions which will eventually become policy recommendations. The Nexus Resource Platform is a central knowledge and information platform which is being further expanded. The project will also develop and pilot training courses on the water-energy-food security approach in the regional dialogues. Finally, measures will be put in place and promoted to implement the Nexus Regional Dialogues.

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