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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Water-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus (WEEN) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), Federal Republic of Germany; Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD), Democratic Republic of Congo (

    This is a joint commitment of the Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo (MEDD) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), rapid population growth, overexploitation of natural resources and the impacts of climate change require balancing key objectives such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the conservation of carbon sinks and other ecosystems, the resilience and well-being of local communities and the development of the country's vital sectors. Water is the link between all these objectives and the establishment of integrated water resources management in the DRC is paramount to achieving the national ambitions for economic, social and environmental development. A better understanding of these complex interrelationships and a balance between the needs of the various stakeholders, the water demands of the different sectors and local policy decisions are needed. The project aims to establish and implement a Nexus approach between integrated water resources management, conservation of ecosystems and their services for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the multiple uses of water that are important for the country's development, such as green energy supply (the Water-Energy-Ecosystem Nexus, in short WEEN). The project follows a multi-level governance approach: at national, sub-basin and local level. At the national level, the strengthening of decision-makers with a key role in the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and their cooperation with the Ministries of Energy and Environment will be supported. In agreement with and at the request of the relevant stakeholders, the project will be able to offer assistance to the Congolese Government to accede to the United Nations Water Convention. At the level of a 'flagship' sub-basin, the project will support the establishment of an information system to improve the database for evidence-based decision making. The project promotes the introduction of innovative technologies, tools and methodologies for integrated water resources management. This approach will enhance long-term sustainability, climate resilience and GHG mitigation in the sub-basin, while improving framework conditions such as the accurate and timely provision of relevant data. Good practices and expertise will be promoted through exchange at national and international level and embedded in the institutional structures of national stakeholders. To accelerate the implementation of climate-sensitive IWRM and WEEN approaches at national, sub-basin and local levels, increased resilience against climate change and enhanced adaptation capacity will be enabled through: improved availability and sharing of data and information (output 1), strengthened capacity and skills for data analysis and decision-making (output 2), improved multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms (output 3) as well as improved framework conditions for scaling-up (output 4).

    Expected Impact

    The project supports the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the implementation of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to achieve the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement (2015), the National Climate Adaptation Plan (2022-2026) and the National Strategic Development Plan (2032-2027). The project is expected to bring about a paradigm shift away from a separate and sector-oriented approach towards a holistic view of the complexity of all natural resources, reflecting the interlinkages between water resources and relevant ecosystems, and thus promoting synergies and reducing trade-offs. Both IWRM and WEEN approaches will be central to supporting actors at national, sub-basin and local levels to ensure that enhanced long-term resilience against the impacts of climate change is safeguarded, while the mitigation objectives and development needs of the target population (e.g. access to sustainable energy, food and water security, poverty reduction) are met. The involvement of local civil society organisations as well as the private sector will be crucial for substantial innovation, overcoming use and management conflicts in the selected sub-basin. The project will particularly address the needs and challenges of women and vulnerable groups (indigenous people and youth) and strengthen their role in the implementation of the IWRM approach through active participation in the decision-making process at local and sub-basin level. The project contributes to low-carbon development, increased resilience to climate change and enhanced adaptation capacity (SDG 13), protects and conserves biodiversity and ecosystem services in the selected sub-basin (SDG 15), contributes to the sustainable supply and management of water (SDG 6) and energy (SDG 7) resources for the population, and places particular emphasis on the involvement of women (SDG 5) as well as vulnerable groups.


    National and provincial service providers River basin agencies Local communities Non-governmental organisations Scientific community

    Additional information

    The commitment contributes to Themes 2 (Water for Sustainable Development) and 3 (Water for Climate, Resilience, and Environment) of the UN 2023 Water Conference and addresses all 5 accelerators under the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework.

    Goal 5

    Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

    Goal 5


    End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere


    Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non‑discrimination on the basis of sex


    Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation

    Proportion of ever-partnered women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months, by form of violence and by age


    Proportion of women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to sexual violence by persons other than an intimate partner in the previous 12 months, by age and place of occurrence


    Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation

    Proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18


    Proportion of girls and women aged 15-49 years who have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting, by age


    Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate


    Proportion of time spent on unpaid domestic and care work, by sex, age and location


    Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life


    Proportion of seats held by women in (a) national parliaments and (b) local governments


    Proportion of women in managerial positions


    Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences


    Proportion of women aged 15-49 years who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health care


    Number of countries with laws and regulations that guarantee full and equal access to women and men aged 15 years and older to sexual and reproductive health care, information and education


    Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws


    (a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure


    Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control


    Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

    Proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone, by sex


    Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels


    Proportion of countries with systems to track and make public allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment

    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 7

    Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

    Goal 7


    By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services


    Proportion of population with access to electricity


    Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology


    By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

    Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption


    By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

    Energy intensity measured in terms of primary energy and GDP


    By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology

    International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy research and development and renewable energy production, including in hybrid systems


    By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support


    Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing and developed countries (in watts per capita)

    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

    Availability and sharing of data and information at national and sub-basin levels is improved

    Capacities and skills for data analysis, decision making and integration of IWRM/WEE-Nexus into land and resource use planning are strengthened

    Multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms are improved, preventing and reconciling divergent interests and conflicts between sectors (water, energy, agroforestry)

    Framework conditions for scaling up IWRM and WEE-Nexus approaches are improved

    Financing (in USD)
    ~5 million USD (4.9 million EUR)
    Staff / Technical expertise
    Technical assistance
    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    Action Network
    water logo
    01 August 2023 (start date)
    31 July 2026 (date of completion)
    Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), Federal Republic of Germany; Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD), Democratic Republic of Congo
    1. Africa
    Other beneficiaries

    Stakeholders in the water, energy and socio-economic sectors Local community Regional community Stakeholders in the ecosystem goods and services sector

    Website/More information
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Contact Information

    Janine, Policy Officer