Georgia and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) under the 6.5.1 Indicator

This article is focused on the experience of Georgia under the reporting for the 6.5.1 Indicator. Gvantsa Sivsivadze, author of this article, is a Contact Person for 6.5.1 Indicator at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.

In order to join the international efforts towards sustainable development, the Georgian Government has nationalized all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, number of their targets and indicators. Activities related to the nationalized goals, targets and indicators are being integrated within the national policy documents, and baseline and target values are being set for each one of them.

Georgia actively takes part in global reporting processes under the SDG indicators, which measure the progress reached towards achieving certain targets at global, as well as at national levels. The country has engaged in such reporting processes under the water-related Goal 6 on water and sanitation.

One of the important targets of the SDG 6 is 6.5, which relates to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) at all levels. In order to measure the progress achieved, the target has two indicators, one (6.5.1) focusing on IWRM at all levels and the other one (6.5.2) focusing on transboundary arrangements and cooperation. Even though the target and the indicators are not nationalized by Georgia yet, the country has still participated in baseline reporting for both of the indicators in 2017 and is now preparing for the second reporting cycles, taking place in 2020.

The baseline reporting in 2017 was helpful in a way that the key strengths and weaknesses at the national level were identified, in terms of IWRM. In addition, the comprehensive analysis of the IWRM in the country through filling in the reporting form enabled the measurement of the progress made during the last three years.

Overall results of the baseline reporting showed that relevant institutional and legislative framework had been established by 2017, but for further implementation of IWRM, adequate financing was important. In fact, out of the four key dimensions of the 6.5.1 Indicator (Enabling Environment, Institutions and Participation, Management Instruments, Financing), “Financing” had the lowest score. The result indicated that the existing frameworks for pollution control, ecosystem management, and disaster risk reduction required further funding, capacity enhancement and expansion. The highest score out of the four dimensions was given to the “Institutions and Participation”, which measured cross-sector coordination and stakeholder engagement. In particular, the results showed strong cross-sectoral coordination between the government institutions, and engagement of the public in decision-making processes, based on the principles of the Aarhus Convention, which Georgia is a party to.

The reporting process for the second cycle, which is still ongoing, has shown that important progress has been made since the baseline reporting, as the key legislative framework for the IWRM management at all levels has been prepared and finalized. In particular, the new draft Law on Water Resources Management is aligned with the EU Water Framework Directive and will introduce the River Basin Management (RBM) through development of river basin management plans (RBMP) and their implementation. Important work has been done to enhance monitoring networks on water quality and quantity and to generate more comprehensive data. In order to further enhance access to information, the Water Information System of Georgia (WIS-Georgia) has been developed. The portal which includes the comprehensive information on all the important water-related policies, legislation, and plans, also provides the data on the important water-related parameters (indicators) and the dynamic maps to inform the public on the state of water resources.

Georgia is now in progress of the second reporting that is coordinated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. The key objective under the reporting is to ensure active engagement of different stakeholders in the process, including government institutions, academia, private sector and civil society.