IWA adopts resolution on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

2030 timeline to solve all major water challenges

Solving global water challenges is now recognised as one of the top priorities for humankind. The recently adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with their 169 measurable targets, have potential to be a game changer for water, wastewater and sanitation.

At the global level, water has never been so visible. That it is listed as one of the 17 top priorities for humanity is a significant moment. It presents an opportunity for a breakthrough. Not just to accelerate the unfinished task of universal access to safe water and sanitation; but to transform the water sector to become sustainable, resilient and a driver of the circular economy.

The Sustainable Development Goals are likely to initiate a revolution in the water sector. Water challenges now have the capacity to be far more visible in political and public arenas, including the media. They never had such a status in the past. Even though they are not legally binding, every government will be obliged to report on its national achievements. This will be a strong incentive to act towards the targets.

The effective contribution of water professionals to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6, and all water-related Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development, is critical. To support this vision, the IWA has adopted a resolution that will help extend international assistance and cooperation to national and local governments, and other stakeholders seeking to achieve the SDGs.



IWA Governing Assembly
Brisbane, Australia – 8 October 2016

Effective contribution of water professionals to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 and all water-related Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development


NOTING the adoption on 25 September 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly of Resolution A/RES/70/1 which serves as an intergovernmental agreement setting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and which contains 17 aspirational goals (the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) aimed at transforming the world through the achievement of precise Targets by 2030.

NOTING that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is based on Principles agreed upon under UNGA Resolution A/RES/66/288, known as The Future We Want, the outcome of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, which was addressed by IWA Governing Assembly Resolution Rio+20: Follow-up by the International Water Association, adopted in Busan 2012.

NOTING the agreement reached at the 21st annual session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December 2015, on measures to minimise climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a view to keeping global warming to well below 2o C, and to contain its impacts, including severe floods and droughts associated with extreme weather conditions.

CONSIDERING that the SDG framework includes a Goal dedicated to Water and Sanitation (SDG6) entitled Ensure Availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All

CONSIDERING that SDG6 has six outcome targets related to access to safe and affordable drinking water, access to safe and affordable sanitation, effective management of wastewater and ensuring environmental water quality, efficiency in water use, integrated water resources management, and maintaining aquatic ecosystem integrity to ensure ecosystem products and services; and two targets for means of implementation related to community engagement and capacity development.

CONSIDERING that the SDG framework and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is closely linked to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the particular case of SDG6, to the human rights of access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

RECOGNISING that the attainment of SDG6 will be reliant upon contributing to and benefiting from the attainment of water-associated targets under a number of other SDGs.

RECOGNISING that attaining the SDG targets will require close collaboration between governments, society and business at local, national and international levels and that in this collaborative framework, the role of water professionals – researchers and practitioners alike – will be critical in providing leadership and technical inputs to guide, implement and assess strategies to attain the SDGs.


Therefore, the Governing Assembly of the International Water Association:

WELCOMES with enthusiasm the water-related targets of the global Sustainable Development Goals [SDG] and the adoption of a SDG dedicated to water and sanitation. These ambitious targets aim at addressing the most pressing challenges related to water and sanitation. Their achievement by 2030 will require coordinated efforts by all stakeholders, including action by water professionals.

AFFIRMS the International Water Association’s (IWAs) commitment to support governments at all levels in realizing their commitments for universal and affordable access to safe drinking water and sanitation, protection of source water and improvement of water quality, prevention and reduction of microbial and chemical pollution of water after use, reduction of water losses and unsustainable withdrawals, increase in water efficiency, involvement of water-users in decision-making processes and for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

ENCOURAGES national and local governments to review their water policies and to ensure that expected results in 2030 match with the SDG targets; to amend these policies if needed; and to set up SDG action plans aiming at achieving their expected national and local contributions by 2030.

ENCOURAGES its members and all water professionals to contribute actively to the efforts of their respective governments and, where and when possible, to act themselves towards the achievement of the SDG Targets.

AFFIRMS its willingness that IWA supports its members and all water professionals in their respective actions towards the achievement of the SDGs targets. Special support should be given to IWA governing members so that IWA national committees interact proactively with their respective governments to help designing their national SDG action plans.

AFFIRMS the important role of IWA, along with regional and national associations of water professionals, in facilitating learning and training to support the human resource capacity development needs of utilities, other water and sanitation service providers, entities dealing with wastewater management and regulatory bodies.

SUPPORTS IWA’s engagement in international and regional events, which are relevant to the Association’s role in promoting action towards the achievement of SDG targets and climate change efforts in relation to water and sanitation.

INVITES IWA members to develop strategic plans for support to efforts aimed at the practical implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with respect to the targets under SDG6, through the national IWA Committees, as part of their National Action Plans, and with support from the IWA Secretariat.

INSTRUCTS the IWA Strategic Council, with support from the IWA Secretariat, to develop further guidance and concrete suggestions for the contributions of the Association to the SDGs, and extend international assistance and cooperation to national and local governments and other stakeholders.

REQUESTS the IWA Secretariat to support, guide and promote the role of Specialist Groups in providing knowledge and expertise to attaining the SDG Targets.