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Type
Resolution
Status
Adopted

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The United Nations Environment Assembly,
Recognizing that water from terrestrial, coastal and marine sources is essential for human
health, well-being and livelihoods, ecosystem functioning and services, and the survival of all living
species,
Highly concerned about threats to water quantity and quality, in particular from pollution on
both land and sea across the globe, and that water-related ecosystems sustain the impact of climate
change and severe pathogen pollution, among other factors, and of human activities such as
urbanization, increased industrial and agricultural activity and poor sanitation,
Conscious of the fact that water pollution, water scarcity and degradation of water-related
ecosystems have a disproportionate impact on women and children,
Noting that water is both a recipient and a carrier of pollution, affecting ecosystems and human
health, with impacts that are exacerbated by the effects of extreme events, including disasters, and
stressing that sustainable solutions require integrated and intersectoral approaches from source to sea
at all levels in order to reduce emissions and the transport of hazardous substances, and concerned that
many water-related ecosystems face increased uncertainty and risks due to climate change and other
factors,
Recalling the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development, entitled “The future we want”, in which Heads of State and Government stressed the
need to adopt measures to significantly reduce water pollution and improve wastewater treatment and
the need for Governments to commit to increasing access to safe and affordable drinking water and
basic sanitation,
Recalling also United Nations General Assembly resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015,
entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, and recognizing
the important role of water in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals,
Recalling further United Nations Environment Assembly resolution 2/5, on delivering on the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,
Welcoming the outcome of the high-level United Nations Conference to Support the
Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas
and marine resources for sustainable development,
Recalling decision 27/3 of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment
Programme, in which the Council called for the development of international water quality guidelines
for ecosystems that could be voluntarily used by countries to develop national standards, policies and 
frameworks for their own water quality in order to protect and restore their significant
water-related ecosystems,
Recognizing the contribution made by the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water
Programme and recalling United Nations Environment Assembly resolutions 1/9, which reaffirmed the
mandate of the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme in its capacity-building and
data management work, and 2/23, which extended the General Trust Fund established to promote its
activities,
Stressing that monitoring water quality and quantity and sharing data are important for the
effective management of water pollution and recalling the contributions of the Global Environment
Monitoring System/Water Programme, which works with countries to build capacity to collect and
share data on a voluntary basis,
Recognizing the contributions of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the
Marine Environment from Land-based Activities and recalling its three partnerships, namely the
Global Wastewater Initiative, the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management and the Global
Partnership on Marine Litter,
Concerned about the limited legal, policy, financial, technical, technological and institutional
capacities available to monitor, enforce and address water pollution in an integrated manner in many
developing countries,
Recalling the fifth Global Environment Outlook report, A Snapshot of the World’s Water
Quality: Towards a global assessment, and the analytical brief entitled “Towards a Worldwide
Assessment of Freshwater Quality”, which highlight, inter alia, the gaps in our knowledge of the state
of water quality resulting from a lack of data and regular monitoring, and the opportunities for
avoiding pollution and restoring polluted water bodies in developing countries,
Taking into account the contribution that the United Nations Environment Programme can
make upon request by concerned States to assist them in the protection and preservation of the
terrestrial water resources and the marine and coastal environment,
Recalling Environment Assembly resolution 2/8 on sustainable consumption and production
and noting the links to water quality and quantity,
Highlighting the need to enhance cooperation on water pollution as appropriate, including
transboundary cooperation,
1. Emphasizes the need for member States, in collaboration with the United Nations
Environment Programme and other United Nations entities, to address water pollution in inland,
coastal and marine ecosystems and improve water quality by, inter alia, increasing efforts in pollution
prevention at all levels, water governance at the national level, integrated water resources
management, sustainable use of water, as appropriate, improved water quality data collection and
improved data sharing on a voluntary basis, which should support implementation of the water-related
Sustainable Development Goals and their interrelated targets and, as applicable, the Strategic Plan for
Biodiversity 2011–2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the fourth strategic plan 2016–2024 of the
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat and the United
Nations strategic plan for forests 2017–2030;
2. Welcomes the convening of the eighth session of the World Water Forum, to be held in
Brasília from 18 to 23 March 2018, and encourages member States to participate in the event;
3. Encourages member States to draw upon the work carried out by the United Nations
Environment Programme in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on international
water quality guidelines for ecosystems (now updated as “A Framework for Freshwater Ecosystem
Management”) in order to provide inputs for countries on how to protect and restore water-related
ecosystems to create effective governance structures at the national level, develop their own national
standards for water quality and set up water quality monitoring of their significant water bodies and
associated ecosystems;
4. Invites member States to establish and improve water quality monitoring networks in
voluntary collaboration with relevant organizations and monitoring systems, such as the Global
Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme, to promote streamlined national standardized
monitoring and reporting mechanisms in order to fill relevant data and information gaps and share
data, as appropriate, to help in identifying and addressing sources and causes of water pollution in
water bodies; 
5. Also invites member States to enhance public access to relevant information on water
quality status and requirements for different water uses to promote safe and efficient water use;
6. Further invites member States and other stakeholders, including government
laboratories, the private sector, academia and civil society, to collaborate and share best practices with
one another on data collection, monitoring and exchange that will be useful for reporting on water
quality and quantity and addressing water pollution;
7. Invites member States, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, the private sector,
industry, academia, civil society and the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine
Environment from Land-based Activities, including by encouraging platforms for wastewater and
management of nutrients, to help in preventing and mitigating water pollution and to protect and
restore water-related ecosystems in order to minimize adverse impacts on human health and the
environment;
8. Encourages member States to facilitate the implementation of the target to halve by
2030 the amount of untreated wastewater reaching water bodies by continuing to work through the
Global Wastewater Initiative and other UN-Water members and the private sector;
9. Also encourages member States, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment
Programme and other UN-Water members and its partners, to develop and implement policies that
relate to integrated water resources management and invest in the protection and restoration of
water-related ecosystems, so as to prevent and reduce pollution and maintain or improve ecosystem
health;
10. Further encourages member States to work collaboratively with the United Nations
Environment Programme and other relevant international organizations, including the Global
Environment Facility and multilateral banks, to mobilize the necessary resources to find solutions to
land-based and water pollution;
11. Encourages member States, with the support of the Executive Director of the
United Nations Environment Programme, to implement Environment Assembly resolution 2/8 on
sustainable consumption and production patterns, including by integrating such patterns into education
and training to promote a shift to sustainable consumption and production;
12. Calls upon member States:
(a) To increase transboundary water cooperation where appropriate to reduce water
pollution;
(b) To improve their capacities to tackle accidental pollution risk at all levels;
(c) To strengthen their preparedness to address waterborne disease issues, especially after
disasters and during communicable disease outbreaks by encouraging subnational, national and
international initiatives dedicated to activities of surveillance, detection, notification and response to
water-related public health emergencies;
13. Reiterates that the availability and accessibility of adequate, predictable and
sustainable resource mobilization from all sources, technology development, dissemination, diffusion
and transfer, on mutually agreed terms, and capacity-building are important to the effective
prevention, reduction and management of water pollution;
14. Encourages member States to address water pollution, including through cooperation
at all levels and partnerships with relevant stakeholders, as appropriate, to find solutions and
strengthen cooperation and exchange knowledge, know-how and best practices;
15. Stresses the need to continue the dialogue at the United Nations level to discuss
improving the integration and coordination of the work of the United Nations on the water-related
Sustainable Development Goals and targets and further invites interested member States to consider
using the work of relevant conventions, networks and other institutions to that end;
16. Requests the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme,
within available resources:
(a) To build upon, as needed, the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water
Programme Trust Fund to assist developing countries, at their request and within available resources,
in water quality monitoring, including by setting up monitoring stations, capacity-building and data
management; 
(b) To assist developing countries, upon their request, by strengthening their capacity to
reach the target of halving by 2030 the amount of untreated wastewater reaching water bodies, taking
into account gender perspectives, and including the development of wastewater treatment options in
collaboration with national Governments, local authorities and, as appropriate, the private sector;
(c) To continue to develop tools to support countries, upon their request, in their efforts to
address water pollution and ecosystem health, implement integrated water resources management
approaches and address water-related impacts of disasters;
(d) To work with relevant international organizations, including through UN-Water, to
address issues related to water pollution and build upon the 2016 report A Snapshot of the World’s
Water Quality and taking into account, where appropriate, the recommendations made by the
analytical brief “Towards a Worldwide Assessment of Freshwater Quality”, including assessments of
invasive species, pharmaceutical contaminants, emerging pollutants and severe levels of pathogens in
water bodies, and proposed solutions, policies and technologies;
(e) To cooperate with other relevant organizations, including through UN-Water, to
develop a world water quality assessment for consideration by the Environment Assembly at its fifth
session;
(f) To compile and share information on the analytical and technical requirements for
water quality testing for contaminants (including new and emerging pollutants) that may impact
human and environmental health;
(g) To support countries in data collection, analysis and sharing, at their request, which
would support the implementation of the water-related Sustainable Development Goals, potentially
drawing on Earth observations and global data;
(h) To provide the necessary technical support to facilitate monitoring and reporting on
Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation;
(i) To support member States, as appropriate, in developing programmes that invest in the
management of land and ecosystems to prevent pollution of water sources in order to ensure the
availability of quality water in a sustainable manner for all uses;
(j) To work with Governments and relevant stakeholders, including the private sector, in
creating an enabling environment for addressing water pollution, including sustainable wastewater
management, which encompasses supportive policies, legislation and regulations, tailored
technologies and innovative financial mechanisms;
(k) To assist developing countries, upon their request and within the mandate of the
United Nations Environment Programme, in cleaning and recovering polluted water bodies;
17. Also requests the Executive Director to report to the United Nations Environment
Assembly at its fourth session on the implementation of the present resolution.