IUCN Annual Report 2018: Global Water Programme

IUCN works to implement sustainable water resource management, build better water governance in transboundary areas, and support increased investment in ecosystems that provide natural water infrastructure.



In the Andes region, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, IUCN’s Building River Dialogue and Governance (BRIDGE) programme facilitated the development of an agreement between the governments of Ecuador and Peru. The agreement will serve as the basis for the creation of the Binational Commission for the Management of Transboundary Basins between the two countries. As one of the first bilateral coordination bodies on transboundary river management in the region, the Commission will serve as a model for other countries. Reforms for improved transboundary water governance in the Mekong region, proposed by IUCN, are being integrated into regional institutional dialogues. These include strengthening the legal framework, diversifying energy sources into non-hydro renewables, and enhancing regional power trade. These reforms will enable the region to achieve energy security at much lower cost, while reducing environmental risk. IUCN supported the development of an interactive app that provides real-time data on river flows in the Pungwe, Buzi and Save basins in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Representatives from government and river basin management agencies received training on environmental flows, and are using the information from the app to maintain the environmental integrity of the basins.


Through the SUSTAIN initiative, IUCN and partners launched a local radio programme to help spread information on climate-smart agriculture methods to communities living in the Kilombero valley of Tanzania. Farmers were able to cultivate a pest- and droughtresistant sugarcane variety which requires less land to grow, resulting in increased income for local communities and less damage to the landscape. The initiative was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. IUCN and the CEO Roundtable of Tanzania are working with Tanzania’s financial sector towards responsible financial systems which support the conservation of nature. In 2018, the two organisations organised the first-ever roundtable dialogue on biodiversity conservation and business in the country, with over 30 CEOs of major financial institutions in attendance. A working group is being set up to develop and promote sustainable banking principles in Tanzania.


At the eighth World Water Forum in Brasilia, IUCN coordinated the high-level session “Transformational Integrated Water Resource Management for the 2030 Agenda”. The session was based on IUCN’s long-standing work with the World Water Council to develop a more adaptable development framework for water management. A joint pavilion on nature-based solutions with five IUCN Members – World Wildlife Fund-US, The Nature Conservancy, Forest Trends, Conservation International and Wetlands International – showcased IUCN’s leading role in promoting the conservation and restoration of ecosystems as solutions to address global water challenges. At the Forum, IUCN and partners coordinated the Conference of Judges and Prosecutors on Water Justice. The Brasilia Declaration of Judges on Water Justice developed at the Conference provides a set of principles on the protection of water ecosystems to guide the legal community. IUCN was part of the UN Task Force on Nature-based Solutions for Water and supported the development of the messaging for World Water Day (22 March). IUCN also provided case studies and expert input to the UN World Water Development Report.


In 2019, IUCN will begin the next phase of the Building River Dialogue and Governance (BRIDGE) programme, building on past experience to work in new basins and further engage with states at the regional level.

The Full IUCN Annual Report 2018 is available from the IUCN Library Portal Here