Reporting on transboundary water cooperation
The reporting exercises on SDG Indicator 6.5.2 and under the Water Convention are unique mechanisms for assessing the state of transboundary water cooperation worldwide. Countries sharing transboundary waters submit national reports every 3 years. Country reports provide information for the calculation of the national SDG indicator 6.5.2 values; they also offer a wealth of other important information on water management practices in transboundary basins, ranging from the scope of cooperative arrangements and joint body tasks, to countries’ difficulties and achievements in advancing transboundary water cooperation. For Water Convention Parties, the exercise also allows to track the progress in implementing the Convention.
SDG target 6.5 calls for countries to “implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate”. Indicator 6.5.2, defined as the “proportion of transboundary basin area [within a country] with an operational arrangement for water cooperation”, was agreed by the UN Statistical Commission in 2016 and subsequently adopted in 2017 by the General Assembly as part of the Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNECE and UNESCO were entrusted as co-custodian agencies for indicator 6.5.2.
The adoption of the SDGs and their targets in 2015 coincided with the introduction of reporting under the Water Convention through decision (VII/2) at the 7th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention. To maximize the efficiency and create synergies between the two reporting processes, it was decided to combine them. Thus, Parties to the Convention fill out one template to report on SDG indicator 6.5.2 and under the Water Convention.
In 2018, the 8th session of the Meeting of the Parties adopted a revised template for reporting together with decision ECE/MP.WAT/54/Add.2 on reporting. In 2021, the 9th session of the Meeting of the Parties adopted decision ECE/MP.WAT/2021/6 on reporting that outlines the requirements for an online reporting system, to be developed for future reporting exercises.
What is the current status of reporting on transboundary water cooperation?
The second reporting exercise was held in 2020/2021, with 80% of countries sharing transboundary waters and all Parties to the Water Convention submitting their national reports. The results and main outcomes of the second monitoring are presented in the second joint UNECE-UNESCO report on the Progress on Transboundary Water Cooperation: Global status of SDG indicator 6.5.2 and acceleration needs, 2021 published on behalf of UN Water and in the second report on the Progress on transboundary water cooperation under the water convention: Second report on implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, 2017–2020.
The third reporting exercise will take place in 2023; countries sharing transboundary waters will be invited to submit their national reports by 30 June 2023.