UN-Water: Strengthening the Global Water Architecture for the effective achievement of the 2030 Agenda

The role of UN-Water is to coordinate the UN system’s action on all water related issues, including sanitation. Therefore, UN-Water is key to bring a more effective, integrated and coordinated approach to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with regards to water and sanitation. SDC’s support as core contribution is crucial to ensure that the political ambition of the 2030 Agenda for water has an efficient institutional setting.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Water sector policy
Water resources conservation
Drinking water and basic sanitation (WASH) (til 2016)
01.12.2016 - 31.12.2020
CHF 2'500'000

Almost all UN agencies have traditionally worked on water in one way or another. The establishment of UN-Water in 2003 was aimed to address this fragmentation and to take into account the cross-cutting nature of water. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda gives UN-Water a stronger voice to bring the water community firmly together to accelerate the ambitious work of ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.


Strengthen the global water architecture to ensure the implementation and monitoring of the water related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with positive returns on health, poverty reduction, gender equality, environment, climate change resilience, and food and energy security.

Target groups
  • UN-Water Members and Partners
  • Water sector in its diversity, i.e. civil society, private sector, public sector, multilateral organizations, international finance institutions
  • UN Member States
  • General public
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Coherent and coordinated action as a UN system in collaboration with other relevant actors on water-related issues, delivering clear and measurable added value.

Outcome 2: Coherent, comprehensive and widely recognized monitoring and reporting systems in place for goal 6 to deliver a sound basis for decision making at the global, regional and national level.

Outcome 3: Professional and comprehensive communication and awareness raising products to increase general knowledge on water-related issues, attract the attention of decision makers, stakeholders and the public, increase visibility of water and sanitation-related UN products and realize synergies between existing initiatives.

Outcome 4: Enhanced capacity of the UN system to respond systematically and in a timely way to strategic issues and emerging water challenges.

Outcome 5: An efficient, non-bureaucratic mechanism providing value added support to Members and Partners and contributing to positive impact of UN system operations on water and related issues.

Outcome 6: UN-Water’s operational and institutional efficiency is strengthened and plays a central role in the follow-up and review of water in the 2030 agenda.


Results from previous phases:  

UN-Water played a crucial role in the process of crafting the 2030 Agenda. Given its nature and inclusive work modalities, it was able to distil inputs from the whole UN system and from relevant external stakeholders and to support Member States with consolidated technical advice on all aspects linked to the role of freshwater and sanitation.

In 2013, UN Water edited the report “A Post-2015 Global Goal for Water”. The report promotes a holistic water and sanitation goal. Much of the UN-Water recommendations are captured in SDG 6. UN Water has also been central to give one voice to water during the discussion of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG) to define global indicators; almost all its inputs are now in the global indicators list.

UN Water is also a very important actor for campaigning as they organize the UN World water day (2016: water and jobs) and publish policy briefs (ex. Water security and the global water agenda)

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Other UN Organisation

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   2'500'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   2'000'000