UNDP is supporting ambition on clean water and sanitation in China and globally


The Water Governance Programme in China is undertaken by UNDP and the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE). The project is made possible by funding support from local governments, Coca Cola Foundation, and the domestic private sector. 
The programme focuses on key river basins and regions, especially rural areas, and undertakes dozens of pilot demonstration projects centered around water-related environmental and social development. It actively expands local partnerships; disseminates water governance concepts, models and nature-based technologies; advances innovative management and pilot demonstration models; promotes community participation and women's empowerment; enables policy advocacy and capacity building; and facilitates mutual sharing and learning of best practices through South-South cooperation technical exchanges and dialogues. 
The Water Governance Programme focuses on a variety of key areas, from cleaner production, improving water efficiency, to pollution control, especially in the following dimensions:  
·       non-point pollution control
·       water saving irrigation technologies
·       sustainable agriculture
·       rational water allocation quota management
·       support water user associations and water rights
·       drinking water safety in schools and kindergartens
·       industrial and domestic sewage treatment and recycling
·       waterborne disease control
·       optimizing stormwater/floodwater utilization
·       wetland conservation
·       water and soil conservation
·       ecological rehabilitation and ecosystem management
The provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions covered by the programme include Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Shandong, Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangxi.


UNDP’s work on water governance focuses primarily on the challenges related to SDG 6 - sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Our projects and programmes bring diverse actors together to jointly protect ecosystems and ensure the sustainable use of water resources to build equitable, inclusive, and sustainable societies.

As the largest UN agency in the UN family – and the largest provider of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) solutions in the transboundary context – UNDP is a leading voice in water policy deliberations, while simultaneously improving lives on the ground through long-standing collaboration with governments, UN sister agencies and other partners. 

Without water security, people do not have a solid foundation to survive, let alone prosper. In the same way, clean water can also be a means to accelerate other development trajectories. Better management of wastewater can help fight poverty by lowering the financial burden caused by water-borne diseases. An integrated approach to water resource management can protect and restore ecosystems - key tools in tackling climate change. Progress in the implementation of SDG 6 can help advance the SDGs as whole across an entire range of dimensions including health, hunger, gender equality, education, livelihoods, industry, and the environment. 
At UNDP, we recognize the critical importance of sustainable water resources and we have been deeply committed to governance on water, the foundation of survival, source of civilization and key to ecology. That is why we work across more than 100 countries worldwide to support equitable, reliable, and safe access to clean water for all, through a portfolio of over $3.8 billion.
Here in China, we have been working alongside the Ministry of Water Resources, CICETE, local communities and governments, and the private sector on strengthening water governance for nearly two decades. Across 20 provinces and covering 3 river basins, our water governance programme has resulted in deploying new and innovative nature-based solutions resulting in improvements in sewage treatment, sustainable agriculture, and river basin management, benefitting tens of millions of people, more than half of whom are women and children.


The project aims to:

  • Provide more people, particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged, with access to safe drinking water, sanitation hygiene, and improved living environment
  • Scale up, fund, and implement actions on water governance across sectors
  • Place effective institutional, legislative, and policy frameworks to enhance water resources management, natural and man-made risks at national and subnational levels
  • Set preparedness systems in place to effectively reduce risks, prevent crisis, and enhance resilience
  • Enable more people to enjoy a cleaner, healthier environment as a result of improved water governance and sustainable green growth

Major Achievements

  • The Water Governance Umbrella Programme, implemented across 20 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, has benefited approximately 2.5 million people, about half of whom are women and children living in rural areas along the major river basins in China. 
  • Since 2018, the programme's best practices have been shared through the South-South Cooperation.

GESI Component

  • GEN2: The programme has integrated a gender-responsive and inclusive perspective into project management and implementation procedures.
  • The programme has taken GESI into consideration and has prioritized its focus on women, the poor, and the elderly.
  • The programme will further emphasize the important role of women's participation in implementing and managing the programme. Women are indispensable forces in project decision-making, implementation, and development. They are encouraged to participate in projects on an equal basis with men through management policies and capacity building, and finally obtain opportunities for self-development. Women will also be given priority in related fields and activities. Indicators related to gender equality are incorporated into the evaluation system for the project’s main activities to ensure that women participate equally in and benefit from the project’s activities.



July 2021


December 2025






China International Centre For



China Petroleum Bio-Energy Co. Ltd.







Full Project information