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Coalition launches to strengthen commitment to transboundary water cooperation

With water stress on the rise in shared river basins and aquifers, over 30 governments and organizations decide it is time to do more! 

This year's terrible floods and droughts in almost all corners of the planet and the impact they have caused illustrate the critical importance of water to all aspects of society and our planet. With the second ever United Nations conference on water to take place on 22–24 March 2023, governments and institutions from around the world have come together to form the Transboundary Water Cooperation Coalition. The Coalition, a multistakeholder partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, regional integration organizations, international financial institutions, academic institutions and civil society organizations will work to highlight the critical importance of cooperating over shared water resources in a time when doing so is an imperative to ensure water security and sustainable development. 

Mr. Eric Tardieu, Secretary General, International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) : “In an uncertain world and in a changing climate, strengthening cooperation for the management of the transboundary basins of our lakes, rivers and aquifers is essential to meet our common objectives of water, energy, food and ecological securities our societies depend on. Transboundary water cooperation is an accelerator for the achievement of our global Sustainable Development Goals!”

Through its incredibly diverse set of members that support transboundary water cooperation on policy, governance, capacity development, technical support and finance, the Coalition aims to: 

  • Lift the voice of the transboundary water community in a unified manner
  • Demonstrate and communicate the benefits of transboundary water cooperation, both for upstream and downstream countries and in the adaptation to new climate challenges
  • Provide impetus for concrete commitments related to transboundary water cooperation
  • Catalyze support to initiate, sustain and further transboundary water cooperation

The coalition will encourage concrete commitments to support the advancement of transboundary water cooperation by countries and organizations from around the world to be submitted as contributions to the Water Action Agenda, one of the main outcomes of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference.

Saroj Kumar Jha, Global Director for the World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice: Improved cooperation over shared water resources is a prerequisite for development and the advancement of climate change agenda and the demands of growing population, balancing the needs of people and the environment. The World Bank Group is committed to an increased focus on cooperation around transboundary water management that will help advance peace, stability and build climate resilience. We stand ready to work jointly with our partners and support effective transboundary cooperation. 

Olga Algayerova, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe: “More than 3 billion people depend on water that crosses national borders. This makes transboundary water cooperation a crucial foundation for peace, sustainable development and climate action. Accelerating transboundary water cooperation requires a broad partnership of actors to bring this key issue to the forefront of the global agenda. We have a lot to do: from the strengthening of the legal and institutional frameworks, including on the basis of the UN Water Convention, to enhancing capacity, making data available, increasing financing, and sharing knowledge. UNECE is proud to be a member of the Transboundary Water Cooperation Coalition launched today and encourages all governments to announce their commitment to joining the Water Convention at the 2023 UN Water Conference”

The Coalition was launched on 8 December 2022 during the UN-Water Groundwater Summit in Paris, France, hosted by UNESCO. 

The Coalition includes: Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Namibia, The Netherlands, Senegal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uganda, Inter-American Development Bank, Organization of American States, World Bank, Global Environment Facility, UNECE, UNESCO, UNEP, UNDP, ESCWA, UNCDF, International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), Centro Regional para la Gestión de Aguas Subteranneas de América Latina y el Caribe (CeReGAS), Global Water Partnership (GWP), IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Geneva Water Hub, EcoPeace Middle East and the University of Kinshasa.

Additional information

The United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028, or the “United Nations 2023 Water Conference” will convene in New York, from 22 to 24 March 2023, as mandated by the UN General Assembly resolutions 73/226 and 75/212. One of the interactive dialogues at the UN 2023 Water Conference will be devoted to “Water for Cooperation”, including the topics of Transboundary and International Water Cooperation, Cross Sectoral Cooperation, including Scientific Cooperation, and Water Across the 2030 Agenda. Key outcomes of the UN 2023 Water Conference will include the Water Action Agenda – a set of voluntary commitments taken by governments and stakeholders to accelerate implementation towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6 and other water-related goals and targets.



Webinar update: ESCWA presented an overview of the webinar on commitments organized by the Coalition that took place on 27 February, noting that it was a great success with up to 370 people in attendance and many inspiring presentations of commitments by Coalition members. The recording and slides are available here.