Global Commission on the Economics of Water


The Global Commission on the Economics of Water - initiated by the Dutch Government - aims to:

  • shift the conceptual framework on the economics of water to go beyond traditional economic thinking and economics; and
  • test new grounds for policy, business approaches and global collaboration to tackle the combined crisis of water, sustainability, and food and energy security.

The OECD supports the work of the Global Commission, through co-ordination of the various work streams.

Press Release

The Global Commission in practice

The Global Commission embodies a collegial approach that combines thought-leadership, policy entrepreneurship and a capacity to engage society and make change happen. It is chaired by four Co-Chairs, who lead and set the direction for the work and its three pillars:

1. Analytics undertaken by three lead experts who engage with a network of researchers and contributing authors across themes and institutions.

2. Societal dialogues designed to ensure adequate representation of regional characteristics and engage with a wide range of stakeholders (including social groups, labour unions, corporates) to ensure meaningful participation.

3. An action agenda derived from the process and the engagement with people in institutions who can ignite change.

Key outputs

The Global Commission will deliver the following outputs under its two-year mandate:

  • A 10-page Executive Summary and a 30-page Summary for Policy Makers
  • An action agenda and commitments from relevant actors
  • A 100-page Synthesis Report – the Water Review
  • Component reports and other by-products

The UN Water Conference in March 2023 will be a key milestone.

Second in-person meeting of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, London, 15-16 September 2022 

Following a summer of worldwide water crises, the Global Commission on the Economics of Water held its second in-person meeting in London on 15-16 September 2022. The meeting was hosted by the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) at University College London.

Discussions centred around how to re-value water as a global common good and how to manage and govern water in an environmentally changed world, across geographical scales. They also touched on some of the transformations required, shaping markets and governments and triggering innovation. Social justice was a cross-cutting theme, when considering these transformations. An emerging theme was that of water as part of the solution of multiple contemporary crises, and a catalyst for change.

The Global Commission also discussed its work plan ahead of the 2023 UN Water Conference.

A number of invited guests provided additional perspectives that led to lively discussions among the Commission. Guests came from various backgrounds: youth, water networks, international institutions, think tanks, finance and business.

The Commission will meet for the next time in early December in Potsdam, Germany.



  • For more information, please contact Xavier Leflaive of the OECD Environment Directorate.


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