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Thematic area

Water Resource

Water Resource Management and Access to Water

Climate change and increases in extreme events such as droughts and floods, coupled with natural resource degradation, is putting water for drinking, agriculture, and other uses at risk across the globe. Ensuring access to reliable water is an essential component of UNDP’s climate change adaptation service offer. The main areas of work include watershed management and catchment rehabilitation, sustainable land management, improving access to drinking water and water for domestic use, and promoting integrated water resource management systems. Water systems are under threat from pollution, inefficient water use, habitat loss, and climate change and can become the source of local and regional conflicts. UNDP assists local, national, and regional initiatives to identify priorities and agree on governance reforms to promote integrated, ecosystem-based, climate-resilient approaches for water resources management. UNDP supports National Adaptation Plans, climate information, and early warning systems, with ecosystem-based adaptation offering cross-cutting solutions for sustainable water management.

Human stories

The CRIWMP’s innovative integrated water management model adopts a whole-of-ecosystem approach to strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers in the Dry Zone to climate variability and extreme events by working through three approaches.

In Somaliland, water is life. With support from UNDP and funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the government of Somaliland has helped farmers like Fardosa Mohamed get access to water for drinking, cooking, and watering livestock. It’s a vital resource for Fardosa and her family – and now also key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 by making it easier to wash hands and clean household items.

With the backing of the Green Climate Fund, this UNDP-supported project has secured year-round, safe, reliable, and uninterrupted water supply to residents of the most vulnerable outer islands of the Maldives – around 105,000 people, or one third of the national population.


Amid the climate crisis, nature-based indigenous solutions such as ice stupas ensure evidence-based and transformative changes to build the climate resilience of these mountain ecosystems.

'Moyna' consists of 25 women beneficiaries from Kocha village in Dacope upazila, Khulna. Most group members are uneducated and belong to extremely poor families. After receiving training under the GCF-funded project 'Enhancing Adaptive Capacities of Coastal Communities, especially Women, to Cope with Climate Change-Induced Salinity in Bangladesh' (known locally as the Gender-responsive Coastal Adaptation, or GCA  project), 'Moyna' has been cultivating climate-resilient sesame. The members are now educating their family and friends about the advantages of the crop.

Brief for project 'Enhancing Adaptive Capacities of Coastal Communities, especially Women, to Cope with Climate Change-Induced Salinity in Bangladesh' (known locally as the Gender-responsive Coastal Adaptation, or GCA, project) 

Produced by UNDP, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), this document comprises a series of sectoral checklists, developed to help climate change professionals and decision-makers identify water-related issues to address within climate plans and policies. In particular, it aims to assist in the process of enhancing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement.

The 2022 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (UN WWDR 2022) entitled ‘Groundwater: Making the invisible visible’ describes the challenges and opportunities associated with the development, management and governance of groundwater across the world.


UNDP’s work on water and ocean governance focuses primarily on the challenges related to SDG6 (sustainable management of water and sanitation for all) and SDG14 (to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources). Our projects and programmes bring a diverse suite of actors together to jointly protect ecosystems and ensure the sustainable use of water and ocean resources to build equitable, inclusive, and sustainable societies.