The Governing Council, Recalling its decisions 23/2 of 25 February 2005 and 24/16 of 9 February 2007 on the updated water policy and strategy of the United Nations Environment Programme, Reaffirming the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the main global environmental authority and principal body within the United Nations system in the field of environment, including global water quality monitoring and assessment, Reaffirming also the need to strengthen the scientific base of the United Nations Environment Programme, within its mandate, including through the reinforcement of the scientific capacities of developing countries and countries with economies in transition in the area of environmental protection, Recognizing the increased need for reliable and high-quality global water quality data, assessments and indicators in support of decision-making on environment and sustainable development, Acknowledging that the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme is one of the main sources for global water quality data within the United Nations system and provides the evidence-based information on the state and trends of global inland water quality required for the sustainable management of the world’s freshwater, Recognizing the importance of United Nations system initiatives devoted to water research, water resources management, water assessment, education and capacity-building, particularly those led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or with its involvement, such as the World Water Assessment Programme, the World Water Development Report, the International Hydrological Programme and the UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education, Recognizing also the need to increase the capacity and the number of countries that provide reliable water quality data and information to enhance the usefulness of the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme, both for the users of today and the vast array of potential users of tomorrow as issues of water quality become increasingly important, 1. Acknowledges the need to improve the tracking and monitoring of water quality and capacity of developing countries in this field; 2. Requests the Executive Director to facilitate the further development of the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme to ensure that the Programme provides scientifically credible water quality data that meet the needs of the United Nations: (a) To inform decision-making by ensuring the integration of water quality data and information into a broad range of issues, from ecosystems and human health to poverty and economic sustainability; (b) To create a knowledge base for assessing water quality and factors that affect water quality by focusing more on research, indicators and data applications; (c) To promote access to information by encouraging and facilitating data-sharing, interoperability and standards to create accessible web-based information on water quality; (d) To strengthen capacity to enhance monitoring programmes and analytical, assessment and research activities for integrated water resource management in developing countries; (e) To encourage cooperation at the regional level to enhance water monitoring at the global level, to ensure better coordination of the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme with other existing global, regional and national water monitoring systems and other specified water monitoring systems to improve its efficiency and to avoid duplication and ensure data coherence; 3. Encourages Governments and other organizations to participate actively in the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme by contributing water quality data and information; 4. Invites Governments and others in a position to do so, including the private sector, to provide financial and in-kind support for Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme capacity-building and transfer of technology efforts in developing countries; 5. Requests the Executive Director to report to the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum at its twenty-seventh session on the implementation of the present decision.