Biodiversity, water and natural resource management

OECD Programme on Water Governance



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- Recent release -

An article was recently published in the International Journal on Water Governance about OECD work on water governance. More specifically, it discusses key findings and policy recommendations from the OECD report “Water Governance in the Netherlands: Fit for the Future?”.

 >> Download the article




Why does water governance matter?

 The “water crisis” is mainly a governance crisis

Managed correctly, there is enough water on earth for all, but managing water is a complex issue involving multiple stakeholders from all levels of government with different views and objectives.  A lack of effective management of these interdependent stakeholders can hinder the efficient design and implementation of water policy reform.


There is no one-size-fits-all solution to water governance challenges

Water policies need to be tailored to local characteristics and concerns. Whether in developed or developing countries, whether water is scarce or plentiful, common challenges can be identified so that proper responses can be developed. To tackle these challenges, countries need to take stock of lessons learnt, identify good practices and develop tools to create effective, fair and sustainable water policies. These solutions must be developed and implemented by all stakeholders and at all levels of government


OECD Programme on Water Governance

The Programme is dedicated to analysing multi-level governance and coordination challenges in the water sector, and providing countries with customized policy guidance. The objective is to help policymakers deal with governance bottlenecks, make specific water reforms happen, and improve the outcomes of water policies through evidence-based assessment, economic analysis, benchmarks, country specific policy dialogues and experience sharing on international best practice.



OECD Water Governance Initiative

About the Initiative

The OECD Water Governance Initiative (WGI) is an international multi-stakeholder network of public, private and non-for-profit stakeholders. It is gathering twice a year in a Policy Forum to share on-going reforms, projects, lessons and good practices in support of better governance in the water sector.

It was launched on 27 March 2013 by the Secretary General of the OECD, Angel Gurría.



Video message from Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General



The WGI carries out its activities through 4 Thematic Working Groups on:

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Governance and performance of water services
  • Basin governance
  • Integrity and transparency

The Initiative also relies on Regional Partners in the different continents.


>> Learn more:


Working Groups recent or planned activities

Water Governance for Future Cities

This project aims to assess the performance of  urban water governance in 100+ cities or metropolitan areas above 500 000 inhabitants from OECD and non OECD countries. It will identify the main obstacles to effective water governance in cities, collect and showcase best practices and suggest policy recommendations to overcome institutional and territorial fragmentation and foster integrated urban water management in cities and their hinterlands. Results will be published in an OECD report to be released in 2015.

>> To learn more, read the project's concept note available in English, French, Spanish and Italian


Water Integrity Workshop - 20 March 2014 - Paris, France

The event gathered more than 60 experts, to discuss challenges and best practices in promoting integrity in water services and resources management, across OECD and non OECD countries.


WGI Plenary meetings

4th Meeting - 24-25 November 2014 - Paris, France

The meeting has the following objectives:

  • Discuss recent developments in the Global Water Agenda, especially the preparatory process of the 7th World Water Forum (Korea, 2015) and progress on negotiations related to post-2015 SDGs;
  • Peer-review OECD draft reports on “Water Governance in Brazil”, “Stakeholder Engagement for Inclusive Water Governance”  and “Water Policies for Future Cities”;
  • Share views and suggestions on the first draft of OECD Principles on Water Governance;
  • Brainstorm (in working groups’ meetings) on a set of policy indicators for each of the 12 principles on water governance; and
  • Share experience on water governance reforms, initiatives and events.

>> Agenda


3rd Meeting - 28-29 April 2014 - Madrid, Spain

The meeting gathered more than 90 members of the Initiative, and 45 observers to discuss ongoing developments in the Global Water Agenda, exchange on water reforms in selected countries, and identify key policy messages and guidance to be included in Principles and Indicators on Water Governance under preparation.


2nd Meeting - 7-8 November 2013 - Paris, France

The meeting gathered around 100 delegates to discuss recent developments in the global water agenda; kick-off the thematic work of the Initiative; and share key messages from on-going water governance reforms, publications and events.


1st Meeting - 27-28 March 2013 - Paris, France

The kick-off meeting gathered 75 stakeholders, representing 25 countries, to take stock of the progress achieved since the 6th World Water Forum and discussed recent water governance reforms in OECD and non OECD countries.


An Inventory of water governance tools, practices & guidelines

The Inventory was prepared to support the work of the OECD Water Governance Initiative. It gathers more than 100 governance tools, water and non-water specific, and is structured around 4 thematic building blocks:

  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Performance & Governance of Water Supply and Sanitation
  • Basin Governance
  • Integrity & Transparency

The Inventory will be up-dated regularly.



Publications on Water Governance

Water Governance in Jordan – Overcoming the Challenges to Private Sector Participation (2014) La gouvernance des services de l’eau en Tunisie – Surmonter les défis de la participation du secteur privé (2014)

Water Governance in the Netherlands: Fit for the Future? (2014)

Making Water Reform Happen in Mexico (2013)

Cover: Water Governance Netherlands
 Making Water Reform Happen in Mexico | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution

Find out more about this publication

Read the brochure


Find out more about this publication

Read the brochure

This publication is available in Spanish


Water governance in Latin America and the Caribbean: A multi-level approach (2012)

Water governance in OECD countries: A multi-level approach (2011)

 Water Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution Water Governance in OECD Countries | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution  

Find out more about this publication

Read the brochure

This publication is available in Spanish

Find out more about this publication

Read the brochure

This publication is available in French

 >> The full list of Water Governance publications can also be consulted here



The 6th World Water Forum

12-17 March 2012, Marseille, France

Key messages and outcomes of the "Good Governance" sessions

This report was prepared with the contribution of the members of the “Good Governance” Core Group, and summarizes key messages and outcomes from the governance discussions in Marseille.


The report provides a summary of the governance sessions as well as the recommendations and commitments formulated during the Forum to support the implementation of the agreed-upon targets up to the 7th World Water Forum (12-17 April 2015, Korea).



  Good Governance as a condition for success

In 2011-2012, 400 contributors in six taskforces worked together under OECD leadership, to develop concrete, measurable and achievable “solutions” to foster good governance in the water sector. These solutions were gathered in a synthesis report, produced for the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille.

 Nine “Good Governance” official sessions were organised during the Forum, as well as 4 related sessions in the Regional Process of the 6th WWF.


 >> Find out more on the OECD participation to the 6th World Water Forum.



Contact us

For further information please contact Aziza Akhmouch:


  • Phone: +(33-1) 45 24 79 30


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