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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Mobilizing the global water resilience community

Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    AGWA is a network of individuals and organizations that works in both the technical and policy spheres of water and climate change. In both cases, AGWA crowdsources the best practices, recommendations, frameworks, and policy recommendations through our network and beyond to ensure that our water resources can become climate resilient. One of the core beliefs at our founding was that water is the medium of most negative climate impacts. What we have come to know from a decade of intense collaboration, north and south, is that water is also the medium for most climate resilience. Two basic challenges for addressing climate change exist relative to the SDGs. First, even if we stopped all carbon emissions today, the climate would continue to evolve for many decades — if not longer. This means that any specific targets for 2030 will have a limited shelf life. Second, our ability to estimate with confidence how future climate will evolve, especially concerning the water cycle, is limited. We believe these challenges force us to consider how to address the prospect of climatic transformation, which is when a region develops fundamentally new climatic, hydrological, and ecological characteristics. Globally, we see transformation already well underway in high-latitude and high-altitude regions, such as when we lose a glacier and we see a grassland or even a forest emerge. Within a decade or two, we can expect that most regions of the planet will be well along the path of transformation. The issue of transformation is one that has yet to be adequately addressed by the global water community; our traditional solutions based on optimization and hydrologic stationarity do not match the issues that climate change presents. While we must urgently accelerate and complete our energy revolution, we must simultaneously learn to live with the expectation of ongoing change — to prepare and to ensure that we find ways to thrive and build prosperity. In other words, we must build our collective resilience using new tools and approaches to live with complexity, change, and uncertainty. Water resilience is the concept that we must act robustly and decisively for the impacts we can see with confidence, while planning for flexibility for impacts that we cannot predict with confidence. Water resilience does not assume that the past predicts the future. This approach applies to infrastructure as much as regulatory frameworks, protected areas, and global governance. Water resilience should be the key to locking in many SDG targets to ensure they remain relevant beyond 2030. Our situation is serious, but we also have reasons to be hopeful. The concept of water resilience remains relatively new but is rapidly expanding. Many institutions are now working in this space, but many of the most important stakeholders are not necessarily found within the traditional water community. How do we reach new audiences? This is AGWA’s principal commitment to the Water Action Agenda: to mobilize and engage a global water resilience community dedicated to transforming the ways we govern, manage, utilize, and thrive with water.

    Expected Impact

    Under this overarching commitment, AGWA has several initiatives to contribute, framed around the levers of the SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework. Specifically, we commit to expanding and deepening our work on optimized finance, capacity development, innovation, and governance for water resilience. Capacity Development The need for increasing capacity and training around water resilience is critical, especially for regions with advanced transformation. Much of the capacity work targets innovation in resilience. In 2018, with AGWA support, UNESCO published the Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis or CRIDA approach. This is a climate risk reduction methodology that is tolerant of limited data, uses simple software, and helps technical decision-makers engage with stakeholders to develop shared resilience solutions. By 2030, UNESCO has pledged to support CRIDA’s implementation in all of its member countries and to translate the guidance and case studies into all official UN languages. Related to both capacity building and governance, since 2018 AGWA has been collaborating with the UNFCCC to train national climate adaptation focal points in the basics of water-centric adaptation and resilience. Now called the CASTT Adaptation Academy, we partner with IHE-Delft, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Oregon State University, and Korea Environment Institute for three weeks of in-person intensive training. This work has already reached about 75 countries; by 2030 we commit to doubling that number to 150 countries. Innovation Launching last August with groups such as the Pacific Institute, IWMI, and WRI, we have co-developed an approach called the Water Resilience Assessment Framework or WRAF. WRAF is intended to accelerate corporations and utilities into water resilience. WRAF is a very bold, innovative approach that should have a promising, long lifespan. We hope to see WRAF used in at least 10 countries by 2030. Governance In line with the SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework, AGWA believes that if water is the medium of resilience, water must also rise above being a sector and become a connector. Resilience is a shared property, and developing a level of systems awareness and thinking is central to governing for resilience. AGWA has developed a program called the Water Tracker for National Climate Planning, through which we have been working with national governments to help them actively navigate and see the water-climate risks and synergies across and within ministries. Over the next five years, we will expand this initiative with a new set of global partners that will allow us to deepen our engagement with 50 countries in supporting water-resilient national climate planning. Optimized Finance At the UN Water Conference, we will also launch Enabling Resilient Economies: A Blueprint for Catalyzing Prosperity and Structural Transformation Through Water Resilience, a publication aimed at macroeconomists, finance ministries, and central bankers. We have long managed our national economies for efficiency and stability, but these concepts are profoundly threatened by climate change and other risks, as shown by recent shocks from covid, supply chain disruptions, and even unforeseen political and social risk. Our goal is to provide evidence and guidance to economists that shows how to operationalize resilience.


    AGWA works with dozens of partners on these and other water resilience initiatives including governments such as The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, the UK, and Egypt; IFIs such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank; NGOs and research institutions such as Deltares, Global Resilience Partnership, Forest Trends, The Nature Conservancy, Alliance for Water Stewardship, and the International Water Management Institute; UN Conventions and Agencies like the UNFCCC, UNDRR, UNESCO, and UN Global Compact; as well as private entities such as Veolia, Microsoft, and Arup. We believe that no one of us is smart enough, rich enough, or powerful enough to adapt in isolation. Indeed, becoming resilient together is in the true spirit of the SDGs and the UN Water Conference itself. We look forward to welcoming you!

    Additional information

    For CRIDA: For WRAF: For CASTT Adaptation Academy: For the Water Tracker: For Water Resilience for Economic Resilience: For additional water resilience tools and approaches that AGWA is involved in, including our podcast ClimateReady:

    Goal 2

    End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

    Goal 2


    By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round


    Prevalence of undernourishment


    Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)


    By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons


    Prevalence of stunting (height for age <-2 standard deviation from the median of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age


    Prevalence of malnutrition (weight for height >+2 or <-2 standard deviation from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age, by type (wasting and overweight)


    Prevalence of anaemia in women aged 15 to 49 years, by pregnancy status (percentage)


    By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

    Volume of production per labour unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size


    Average income of small-scale food producers, by sex and indigenous status


    By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality


    Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture


    By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed


    Number of (a) plant and (b) animal genetic resources for food and agriculture secured in either medium- or long-term conservation facilities


    Proportion of local breeds classified as being at risk of extinction


    Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries

    The agriculture orientation index for government expenditures


    Total official flows (official development assistance plus other official flows) to the agriculture sector


    Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round


    Agricultural export subsidies


    Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility


    Indicator of food price anomalies

    Goal 6

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

    Goal 6


    By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all


    Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services


    By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


    Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water


    By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally


    Proportion of domestic and industrial wastewater flows safely treated


    Proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality


    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

    Change in water-use efficiency over time


    Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources


    By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate


    Degree of integrated water resources management 


    Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation


    By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

    Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time


    By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    Amount of water- and sanitation-related official development assistance that is part of a government-coordinated spending plan


    Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management


    Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management

    Goal 9

    Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

    Goal 9


    Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all

    Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road


    Passenger and freight volumes, by mode of transport


    Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries


    Manufacturing value added as a proportion of GDP and per capita


    Manufacturing employment as a proportion of total employment


    Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets

    Proportion of small-scale industries in total industry value added


    Proportion of small-scale industries with a loan or line of credit


    By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities


    COemission per unit of value added


    Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending

    Research and development expenditure as a proportion of GDP


    Researchers (in full-time equivalent) per million inhabitants


    Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States

    Total official international support (official development assistance plus other official flows) to infrastructure


    Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities

    Proportion of medium and high-tech industry value added in total value added


    Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020


    Proportion of population covered by a mobile network, by technology

    Goal 11

    Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

    Goal 11


    By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums


    Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing


    By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

    Proportion of population that has convenient access to public transport, by sex, age and persons with disabilities


    By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries

    Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate


    Proportion of cities with a direct participation structure of civil society in urban planning and management that operate regularly and democratically


    Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage


    Total per capita expenditure on the preservation, protection and conservation of all cultural and natural heritage, by source of funding (public, private), type of heritage (cultural, natural) and level of government (national, regional, and local/municipal)


    By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations


    Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population


    Direct economic loss attributed to disasters in relation to global domestic product (GDP)


    (a) Damage to critical infrastructure and (b) number of disruptions to basic services, attributed to disasters


    By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management


    Proportion of municipal solid waste collected and managed in controlled facilities out of total municipal waste generated, by cities


    Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5 and PM10) in cities (population weighted)


    By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

    Average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and persons with disabilities


    Proportion of persons victim of non-sexual or sexual harassment, by sex, age, disability status and place of occurrence, in the previous 12 months


    Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning


    Number of countries that have national urban policies or regional development plans that (a) respond to population dynamics; (b) ensure balanced territorial development; and (c) increase local fiscal space


    By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels


    Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030


    Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies


    Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials

    Goal 13

    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

    Goal 13


    Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries


    Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population


    Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030


    Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies


    Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning


    Number of countries with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


    Total greenhouse gas emissions per year


    Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning


    Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment


    Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible


    Amounts provided and mobilized in United States dollars per year in relation to the continued existing collective mobilization goal of the $100 billion commitment through to 2025


    Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities



    Number of least developed countries and small island developing States with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    Goal 15

    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

    Goal 15


    By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements

    Forest area as a proportion of total land area
    Proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type


    By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally

    Progress towards sustainable forest management


    By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world

    Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area


    By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development

    Coverage by protected areas of important sites for mountain biodiversity
    Mountain Green Cover Index


    Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

    Red List Index


    Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed

    Number of countries that have adopted legislative, administrative and policy frameworks to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits


    Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products

    Proportion of traded wildlife that was poached or illicitly trafficked


    By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species

    Proportion of countries adopting relevant national legislation and adequately resourcing the prevention or control of invasive alien species


    By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts


    (a) Number of countries that have established national targets in accordance with or similar to Aichi Biodiversity Target 2 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 in their national biodiversity strategy and action plans and the progress reported towards these targets; and (b) integration of biodiversity into national accounting and reporting systems, defined as implementation of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting


    Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems


    (a) Official development assistance on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and (b) revenue generated and finance mobilized from biodiversity-relevant economic instruments


    Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation


    (a) Official development assistance on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and (b) revenue generated and finance mobilized from biodiversity-relevant economic instruments


    Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities

    Proportion of traded wildlife that was poached or illicitly trafficked
    Name Description

    Water Tracker for National Climate Planning assessment tool finalized

    Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) tool available in all UN Languagues

    CASTT Adaptation Academy offered to participants from 150 countries

    Water Resilience Assessment Framework (WRAF) used in 10 countries

    Staff / Technical expertise
    Staff time devoted to all of these initiatives as well as continuing to build a global water resilience community
    In-kind contribution
    supporting our partners in their efforts to build climate resilience into their water work
    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    Action Network
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    Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA)
    1. Global
    Other beneficiaries

    Basins, countries, regions, cities, local communities, freshwater and freshwater dependent ecosystems

    More information
    Contact Information

    Ingrid, Policy Director