Sustainable Development Goals Task Force

IWA and the Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims at achieving ambitious targets by 2030. In this Agenda, solving Water and Sanitation challenges (SDG 6) is recognised as a top global priority alongside 16 other overarching Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The success of many of the SDG targets, both those that directly and indirectly relate to water, requires strategic and dedicated action by the water sector. This is why the IWA Governing Assembly adopted a resolution on the SDGs in October 2016 to enable “Effective contribution of water professionals to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 and all water-related Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development”. 

In this resolution the Governing Assembly (i) invites IWA members to develop strategic plans and efforts to the practical implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, (ii) instructs the IWA Strategic Council to develop further guidance and concrete suggestions for the contributions of the Association to the SDGs and (iii) requests the IWA Secretariat to support, guide and promote the role of Specialist Groups in providing knowledge and expertise to attaining the SDG Targets. In line with this, the 2019-2024 IWA Strategic Plan has identified  “support to the implementation of SDGs” as one of the association’s strategic goals.


“The IWA will support and promote the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthen the sector through professional and capacity development to that people and countries can pursue their ambitions in relation to water related SDG’s”


The Sustainable Development Goals

At the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

  • SDGs are universal and apply to all countries
  • SDGs strongly focus on means of implementation, i.e.  mobilisation of financial resources, capacity-building and technology, as well as data and institutions
  • SDGs recognise that tackling climate change is essential for sustainable development and poverty eradication
  • SDG 17 recognises that multi-stakeholder partnerships are a key component for achieving the SDGs
  • SDGs are not legally binding, Nevertheless, countries are expected to take ownership and establish a national framework for achieving the 17 Goals




SDG 6 Targets and Indicators

The global indicator framework was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed to, as a practical starting point at the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission held in March 2016.

Learn more about the overview of targets and indicators:

The IWA Task Force on SDGs

To operationalise IWA’s SDG aspirations, a group of IWA members have joined forces to develop and implement a Task Force on the SDGs. 

The Task Force has completed its first phase of work, identifying that there is a valuable role for IWA to play in inspiring change among members by: 

  1. Supporting the development of SDG knowledge among members 
  2. Strengthening the connection members feel to 2030 agenda 



The Outputs of the SDG Taskforce to date are:

  • SDG Spotlights – case studies from IWA (corporate members) on how they are contributing to the SDGs
  • SDG Slide Deck – for IWA members to present on the SDGs
  • Workshop Material – materials for IWA members and others to organise a workshop for
    • Young Water Professionals – and their role to achieve the SDGs
    • Organisations – and how they can drive their business (strategy) through SDGs.

SDG Spotlights

Sustainability Scoreboard – Ramboll Copenhagen

As part of Ramboll’s strategy to become a recognised leader for sustainable solutions, we use the 17 UN SDGs as our yardstick for sustainability. The SDGs, and their 169 underlying targets, are drivers for future investments and define global priorities and aspirations for 2030.

Read more


Quenching the need for safe and reliable water in remote indigenous community (Port Stewart, Australia)

For over a decade the Lama Lama people of Port Stewart, Far North Queensland, have been struggling to get a reliable supply of water since their original water intake was destroyed by a cyclone in 2006. Read more



SDG Slide Deck

Sustainable Development Goals – Slide Deck

This slide deck for use by IWA members. The SDG slide deck contains a general overview on the Sustainable Development Goals and its targets, updated 2020 statistics on progress, and how IWA is contributing to the SDGs. Read more



SDG Workshop Materials

To support its members, the SDG Taskforce developed workshop materials to organise events for understanding the role of Young Water Professionals in driving the sustainability agenda and for organisations to internally drive their business strategy using the SDGs.

Organisation Workshop

Young Water Professionals