The Governing Council, Recalling its decision SS/XII/6 of 22 February 2012 on the world environmental situation, where it is recognized that there are gaps in our knowledge of the state of the environment resulting from a lack of data and regular monitoring, particularly in areas such as freshwater quality and quantity, estuarine and ocean water quality, groundwater depletion, ecosystem services, loss of natural habitat, land degradation and chemicals and wastes, Recalling its decision 26/14 of 24 February 2011 to revitalize the Global Environment Monitoring System/Water Programme (GEMS/Water), Recalling also the Washington Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, and the Manila Declaration of the Third Intergovernmental Review Meeting of the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), which identifies nutrients, litter and waste water management as GPA priority areas, Recalling that 2005–2015 is the United Nations International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”, and that 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, Reaffirming the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the leading global environmental authority and principal body within the United Nations system in the field of environment, including global water quality monitoring and assessment, Recalling further paragraphs 122 and 124 of the Outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20 ), “The future we want”, which stresses the need to adopt measures to significantly reduce water pollution and increase water quality and recognizes the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality, Recognizing the availability of international guidelines for drinking water quality, for agriculture and drainage, for waste water reuse and other similar matters and the absence of international water quality guidelines for ecosystems, Noting that water is essential for human life, the environment and the economy and thus action to protect water resources and promote its sustainable use is essential to the achievement of sustainable development, Recognizing that water is at the core of sustainable development and is closely linked to a number of key global challenges and reiterating therefore the importance of integrating water into sustainable development and underlining the critical importance of water and sanitation within the three dimensions of sustainable development as referred to in paragraph 119 of “The future we want”, Noting the alarming trends in water quality degradation and its negative impact on ecosystems functioning and human wellbeing and development, Noting targets 8, 11 and 14 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity, regarding water pollution control for ecosystem conservation, Recognizing that there is a need for international water quality guidelines, which may be voluntarily used by Governments to maintain and improve the status of ecosystems to sustain the services they provide, as a possible basis for managing water pollution and water quality, as they affect ecosystems, and to support decision-making, 20 Recognizing also that water quality guidelines for ecosystems should be coherent and integrated, as appropriate, into existing guidelines related to water to promote its sustainable management, 1. Requests the Executive Director, in partnership with Governments, scientific institutions, United Nations agencies and other relevant stakeholders, particularly those from developing countries, to develop international water quality guidelines for ecosystems that may be voluntarily used to support the development of national standards, policies and frameworks, taking into account existing information while integrating, as appropriate, all relevant aspects of water management; 2. Encourages Governments, scientific institutions, United Nations agencies and other relevant organizations, including in the private sector, to participate actively in developing the water quality guidelines consistent with the preceding paragraph; 3. Invites Governments and others in a position to do so, including the private sector, to technically and financially support the process for the development of international water quality guidelines consistent with paragraph 1 of the present decision; 4. Requests the Executive Director to report to the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum at its twenty-eighth session on the implementation of the present decision.