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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Progress on achieving SDG 6

Since the supply of clean water and sanitation is assured in Germany, the main focal point of national efforts to achieve SDG 6 is the improvement of water quality (target 6.3).

The European Water Framework Directive has already laid down objectives for the quality of surface water and groundwater in the EU, and these have been transposed into national law in the Federal Water Act (Wasserhaushaltsgesetz) and various ordinances. The targets must be met by 2027 at the latest.

Despite considerable progress in the protection of water resources, almost all of the 9,800 bodies of surface water and more than a third of the 1,200 bodies of groundwater in Germany have not achieved good ecological status within the meaning of the Water Framework Directive.

The main reasons for this are overbuilding, straightening and transverse structures interrupting the flow of watercourses. The chemical status of some 25% of the bodies of groundwater in Germany is bad because of high nitrate values (see also SDG 14).

The German Government has made a major contribution to preventive action to protect groundwater, surface water and coastal waters from the damaging effects of nutrient inputs.

Legal provisions on fracking that have been in force since 11 February 2017 provide for restrictions on the use of fracking technology in Germany.

As part of the UN Water Action Decade (2018-2028) the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety conducted a two-year National Dialogue on Water with stakeholders from October 2018 to October 2020 and has also been engaged in a National Citizens’ Water Dialogue. On the basis of these dialogues, the Federal Environment Ministry is drawing up a proposal for a national water strategy, which is due to be presented in June 2021 and will then be discussed within the Federal Government and with the Länder.

Regarding the country’s global contributions, the German Government is the world’s second-largest bilateral donor to development cooperation in the water sector. Water is a priority of bilateral development cooperation in more than 20 partner countries.

From 2013 to 2017, Germany assisted partner countries with ODA funds totaling more than EUR 3.3 billion for this purpose.

Germany is promoting the reinforcement of water governance in the United Nations with a view to faster achievement of the water-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The German Government is supporting the UN coordination committee for the reinforcement of global monitoring and the review of water-related targets.

Germany hosts the headquarters of the Global Water Operators’ Partnership Alliance (GWOPA) of UN Habitat in Bonn and has assisted supply companies during the coronavirus pandemic. Germany is participating in the development of a global indicator-based monitoring system for water quality and water resource management and is further developing a global database for water quality data as part of the UNEP programme GEMS/Water.

Read the full report here: Germany - Report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development (



*The information reflected on this page has been taken directly from the official VNR received from this Member State. The information does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations.