Only 3% of the earth’s water is freshwater; about two-thirds of it is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps and we have long over-stretched this precious resource.



Water is the source of all life and
needs to be managed carefully


for people

+ 50 %

increase in global water demand by 2030

for nature

- 80%

decline in freshwater biodiversity since 1970

for security


of all natural disasters are water-related

How we engage

The mission of the IUCN Global Water Programme is to be a trusted partner for evidence-based and adaptive change in water resource management that benefits nature and people. We bring together our extensive network of IUCN Members, experts, government and private sector partners to develop sustainable solutions to manage water resources.

Our work focuses on water governance that integrates the needs of people and nature, the implementation of sustainable water resource management to secure water-related ecosystem services and conserve freshwater biodiversity, and support increased investment in ecosystems as natural water infrastructure. 


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  • In the spotlight:

    World Water Week 2018

    Water, ecosystems and human development is the theme of this year's World Water Week. The conference will take place in Stockholm, Sweden from 26-31 August.

    IUCN leads several sessions and co-organises events and seminars. For a full overview of IUCN's activities during World Water Week, please click the link.

    Follow us on Twitter via @IUCN_Water at #WWWeek

  • In the spotlight:

    Inclusion and Sustainability for African Growth Corridors

    SUSTAIN-Africa is an initiative aiming to implement the Sustainable Development Goals in African Growth Corridors.

    This new visual story shows how IUCN and partners are working on the ground, across different stakeholders and scales, to facilitate greening of growth that is inclusive and climate-resilient in Tanzania and Mozambique.  

    Click the title link for the full story, and share via our Twitter @IUCN_Water

  • In the spotlight:

    Champions of Water Governance

    A new IUCN Publication launched at the 8th World Water Forum - Leadership Building for Local to Transboundary Water Cooperation

    This thematic case study reviews the diverse experience of the ‘Champions’ component’ of BRIDGE in Mesoamerica, South America, in the Lower Mekong region and in the Lake Chad Basin, to examine the factors of success and draw lessons for future initiatives that may choose to rely on change makers to effect transformative change. 

  • In the spotlight:

    IUCN at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia

    IUCN participated at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, Brazil from 18-23 March 2018. The World Water Forum takes place every three years and is the global forum for dialogue and exchange on water. The overarching theme of the 8th WWF was ‘Sharing Water’.


    To follow us at the 8WWF, please check our Twitter or Facebook:

    Facebook: IUCN.Water

    Twitter: IUCN_Water      



  • In the spotlight:

    Water Infrastructure Solutions for the Tana Basin

    WISE-UP to Climate, or 'Water Infrastructure Solutions from Ecosystem Services underpinning Climate Resilient Polies and Programmes', is a 4-year multidisciplinary research project that aims to demonstrate the application of natural infrastructure as a nature-based solution for climate change adaptation and sustainable development in the Volta and Tana River Basins. 

    This Shorthand focuses on the work in the Tana Basin in Kenya.


  • James Dalton at HLPF SDG6 review, 9 July 2018, New York Photo: ©IUCN/Maximilian Mueller

    Water: Eventually We will get it Right…


    Blog by James Dalton. The future of our planet and the stability of our natural, social, and economic systems will very much be measured by the impact of activities at the national level, in countries, doing things, on-the-ground. Guided by the...

  • Will Darwall - Mekong Photo: Eddie Allison

    Freshwater Conservation : INTERVIEW


    Synchronicity Earth - an IUCN Member Organisation - have been supporting the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit (FBU) since 2013 and have recently published this interview with Dr Will Darwall, Head of FBU Programme. Will talks about the challenges facing...

  • Lin, Lake Ohrid, Albania Lin, Lake Ohrid, Albania Photo: Christopher Graz

    Pearl in a plastic bag


    Lake Ohrid is Europe’s oldest lake, straddling the mountainous border between southwestern Macedonia (FYR) and eastern Albania. It was formed by tectonic shifting over two million years ago and is home to a large number of unique flora and...

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Learn more

Wise Up Photo: © shutterstock Vladimir

WISE-UP to Climate

WISE-UP or 'Water Infrastructure Solutions from Ecosystem Services Underpinning Climate Resilient Policies and Programmes'


Sugarcane grower, SUSTAIN Initiative, Tanzania Photo: Maria Ana Borges


Bridging water security and sustainable development. Building sustainable and inclusive growth to improve water and food security and climate resilience.


Bridge Map 2017 Photo: IUCN


BRIDGE - Building River Dialogue and Governance. This project aims to build water governance capacities through learning, demonstration, leadership, and consensus-building, in particular in transboundary river basins.


Champions of Water Governance Photo: IUCN

New report

Champions of Water Governance Leadership Building for Local to Transboundary Water Cooperation


Quick reads

Aimed at policy-makers and journalists, IUCN Issues Briefs provide key information on selected issues in a two-pager format.

Thumbnail_CC and Water issues brief Photo: IUCN

Water and climate change

Water and weather, the delicate balance between evaporation and precipitation, is the primary cycle through which climate change is felt. As our climate changes, droughts, floods, melting glaciers,...

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