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UNDP Global



Water and ocean governance

Through the earth’s water cycle, the planet’s freshwater and oceans are inextricably linked. Our economy and social system depends on how we manage the portion of this great cycle that continuously moves through nature and society. 

Nearly 2.3 billion people lack access to a safely managed water system, and over 4.1 billion lack access to safely managed sanitation. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to achieve universal and equitable access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all, and to end open defecation. The water goal (#SDG6) further sets out to improve water quality, increasing water-use efficiency, and restoring water-related ecosystems. To achieve this, UNDP fosters joint efforts to apply integrated water resources management (IWRM), expand international co-operation and capacity development and to strengthen the participation of local communities. 

Around 80 per cent of global fish stocks are fully- or over-exploited; nutrient and plastics pollution continue to increase, and only around four per cent of the ocean is protected. Through #SDG14, the world has committed to sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources.  UNDP supports #SDG14 by promoting sustainable and inclusive fishing, applying area-based ocean and coastal management, reducing marine pollution and increasing and strengthening marine protected areas.

The significant socio-economic benefits provided by the earth’s freshwater and marine systems underscore the need to take adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based approaches to the management of freshwater and ocean resources through more effective governance. Through a co-ordinated portfolio operating in over 100 countries, UNDP’s Water and Ocean Governance Programme (WOGP) applies such approaches at local, national, regional and global levels.

UNDP works in co-operation with other UN agencies, the Global Environment Facility, international financial institutions, regional organizations, NGOs, the private sector and others to improve water and ocean management and sustain livelihoods at local, national, regional and global scales through effective water and ocean governance.

Important mechanisms to deliver WOGP’s contribution to the realization of UNDP’s Strategic Plan are UNDP-GEF International Waters portfolio, Cap-Net UNDP, the UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility, and the  UNDP GoAL-Waters programme.

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