Regional development

OECD Principles on Water Governance



The OECD Water Governance Principles provide the 12 must-do for governments to design and implement effective, efficient, and inclusive water policies in a shared responsibility with the broader range of stakeholders. They were developed using a multi-stakeholder approach within the OECD Water Governance Initiative, and backed by Ministers at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 4 June 2015.

Since their adoption, the Principles have been endorsed by 42 countries and 140+ major stakeholder groups. The first 65 signatures from public, private and non-profit organisations were gathered at the 7th World Water Forum in April 2015 in Korea through the Daegu Declaration.
Work is underway to identify and scale-up local, basin and national best practices for each Principle, and to develop water governance indicators to assess the state of play of water governance in interested countries, basins and cities. Results will be published in an OECD Water Governance at a Glance report in 2018.

Setting standards for more effective, efficient and inclusive design and implementation of water policies:


1. Clearly allocate and distinguish roles and responsibilities for water policymaking, policy implementation, operational management and regulation, and foster co-ordination across these responsible authorities.

2. Manage water at the appropriate scale(s) within integrated basin governance systems to reflect local conditions, and foster co-ordination between the different scales.

3. Encourage policy coherence through effective cross-sectoral co-ordination, especially between policies for water and the environment, health, energy, agriculture, industry, spatial planning and land use.

4. Adapt the level of capacity of responsible authorities to the complexity of water challenges to be met, and to the set of competencies required to carry out their duties.

5. Produce, update, and share timely, consistent, comparable and policy-relevant water and water-related data and information, and use it to guide, assess and improve water policy.

6. Ensure that governance arrangements help mobilise water finance and allocate financial resources in an efficient, transparent and timely manner.

7. Ensure that sound water management regulatory frameworks are effectively implemented and enforced in pursuit of the public interest.

8. Promote the adoption and implementation of innovative water governance practices across responsible authorities, levels of government and relevant stakeholders.

9. Mainstream integrity and transparency practices across water policies, water institutions and water governance frameworks for greater accountability and trust in decision-making.

10. Promote stakeholder engagement for informed and outcome-oriented contributions to water policy design and implementation.

11. Encourage water governance frameworks that help manage trade-offs across water users, rural and urban areas, and generations.

12. Promote regular monitoring and evaluation of water policy and governance where appropriate, share the results with the public and make adjustments when needed.


Global Coalition for Good Water Governance

The Global Coalition for Good Water Governance brings together 130+ champions who endorsed the OECD Principles on Water Governance. It was launched at the 2016 World Water Week in Stockholm.

Whether you represent an international, national, basin or local stakeholder, from public, private and non-profit sectors, you can endorse the OECD Principles on Water Governance, and join the Global Coalition for Good Water Governance. Kindly print, fill-in, sign and return the Endorsement Form.


Related article

The peer-reviewed journal "Utilities" published in 2016 a dedicated article by Aziza Akhmouch (OECD) and Francisco Nunes Correia (Portuguese Water Partnership) on "The 12 OECD principles on water governance: When science meets policy".





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