Global Water Agenda


Milestone Events, Documents in Water Policy

The international water conference organised by the United Nations in Mar del Plata in 1977 was the first thematic conference with the participation of 105 states and held an outstanding significance in the field of water resources management.

The International Conference on Water and the Environment (ICWE) held in Dublin, January 1992, with the participation of 113 countries, adopted four principles (fresh water as a finite resource, participatory approach, central role of women, economic value of water).

Also in 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro adopted Agenda 21, the global action programme for the 21st century. Chapter 18 is titled Protection of the Quality and Supply of Freshwater Resources: Application of Integrated Approaches to the Development, Management and Use of Water Resources.

The World Water Forum is the most significant international event in the field of water, engaging representatives of governments, parliaments and local governments, different water institutions and international organisations. The first forum was held in Marrakech in 1997, followed by the second in The Hague (2000), the third in Kyoto (2003), the fourth in Mexico City (2006), the fifth in Istanbul (2009), the sixth in Marseille (2012) and seventh in Daegu and Gyeongbuk. Brazil will host the 8th World Water Forum in 2018. The resolutions adopted at each forum are below:

The Plan of Implementation adopted by the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 addresses issues such as access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation and the development of integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans.

The outcome document of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development needs to be mentioned, where the issue of water and sanitation was the top priority for Hungary. At the Conference, H.E. Mr János Áder, the President of Hungary, announced Hungary’s intention to continue its strong engagement in shaping international water policy and organise an international conference in the autumn of 2013 to facilitate the implementation of the water-related resolutions of the Rio Conference – the Budapest Water Summit. The 2013 Budapest Water Summit successfully and efficiently provided the opportunity for major players to discuss their views and to prepare recommendations. The Summit contributed significantly to the adoption of a standalone and comprehensive sustainable development goal on water.

The UN General Assembly in September 2015 adopted the Resolution "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", which defines the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The SDGs actually are considered as the successors of the Millennium Development Goals that expired in 2015. They determine the goals that the UN Member States want to achieve by 2030 within the framework of the international development policy. The decision specifies a total of 17 goals and 169 sub-targets.

The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Paris from 30 November 2015 till 12 December.


Although the Paris Climate Agreement does not mention Water explicitly, it was at the core of several side agreements. There is growing recognition of the fact that climate change impacts will mostly be felt on the water cycle. Seventy-five percent of national climate plans, which 186 countries had submitted ahead of the conference, mentioned water adaptation and several water-related organisations participated as well.


Recent related events

The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan hosted the High Level International Conference on the implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015 on 9-11 June, 2015 in Dushanbe, the capital city of the country. Declaration of the Conference 

World Water Week is hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and takes place each year in Stockholm. This year's World Water Week is organised in Stockholm between August 28 and September 2.


The World Water Week has been the annual focal point for the globe's water issues since 1991. Every year, over 200 collaborating organisations convene events at the World Water Week. In addition, individuals from around the globe present their findings at the scientific workshops. Each year the World Water Week addresses a particular theme to enable a deeper examination of a specific water-related topic. While not all events during the week relate to the overall theme, the workshops driven by the Scientific Programme Committee and many seminars and side events do focus on various aspects of the theme. 2016 theme is “Water for Sustainable Growth”.

The High Level Panel on Water announced by the UN Secretary General and the President of the World Bank Group in January 2016 has the objective to mobilise the international community in order to implement the water related sustainable development goals and targets as well as the related provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Government of Hungary in early 2016 decided to organise under the patronage of H.E. Mr János Áder, President of Hungary the Budapest Water Summit 2016. The Conference builds on the results of the Budapest Water Summit 2013, the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Climate Summit. With the focus on solutions and practical approaches the Budapest Water Summit 2016 aims to foster new type integrated and sustainable water management.