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Progress on Shared Water Resources Management in the Arab Region: Regional baseline for SDG Indicator 6.5.2

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SDG indicator 6.5.2 is intended to monitor progress towards transboundary water cooperation through operational arrangements. The results of the first global reporting under SDG indicator 6.5.2 show an important participation at the global level. However, few countries have an operational arrangement on all their shared waters and many less have specific arrangements for transboundary aquifers. This indicates the need for a significant effort to ensure that operational arrangements for all transboundary water resources are in place by 2030.
In the Arab region, which has a heavy reliance on shared waters, the rate of response was very low, with only 9 countries out of 21. Comoros does not share any transboundary waters and as such was excluded from reporting. Furthermore, the few answers received included limited information, and presented often inconsistencies regarding a same shared basin, river, lake or aquifer.
While this first reporting exercise is considered successful, the custodian agencies plan to improve the process based on this experience. A step by step methodology and guidelines will be prepared to clarify the template. Building partnerships with regional organizations is also planned in view of ensuring a closer assistance to the countries as well as establishing coordination whenever possible with the reporting exercise.
Various possibilities can be contemplated to foster a stronger participation of the Arab countries in the second round of reporting.  A first step is to link the reporting under SDG indicator 6.5.2 to all the initiatives and work taking place in the Arab region related to shared waters, such as the preparation of the Guiding principles on shared waters between the Arab countries under the umbrella of the AMWC. ESCWA is supporting the AMWC in the preparation of these Guiding principles, and as well as in implementing the Arab Water Strategy