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Planning Monitoring and Review
Implementing the OECD Principles on Water Governance

Implementing the OECD Principles on Water Governance

Year of publication:
This report takes stock of the OECD Water Governance Principles’ use and evolving practices, and provides an indicator framework building on lessons learned from their implementation in different countries and contexts. It is aimed at interested cities, basins, regions and countries wanting to strengthen their water policies.
Building block(s)
Planning Monitoring and Review
Both national and subnational
Both urban and rural
Organization responsible for the tool
OECD - Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Detailed description of Tool

Launched by the OECD on 21 March 2018 at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, the report Implementing the OECD Principles on Water Governance: Indicator Framework and Evolving Practices includes two tools:

1. The OECD Water Governance Indicator Framework, a self-assessmentto measure, assess and take action collectively.

2. 50+ concrete practices illustrating the principles contained in the framework.

These tools are described in more detail below.


The OECD Water Governance Indicator Framework was developed within the OECD Water Governance Initiative through a bottom-up and multi-stakeholder approach over 2015-2017 and pilot-tested by 11 institutions at different scales and in different geographic and socio-economic contexts. It provides a voluntary multi-stakeholder self-assessment tool to understand the performance of water governance systems at city, basin, regional or national scales. Its primary objective is to stimulate a transparent, neutral, open, inclusive and forward-looking dialogue across stakeholders on what works, what does not, what should be improved and who can do what.

The Principles apply to the overarching water policy cycle and should be implemented in a systemic and inclusive manner. As such, they do not make distinctions across: water management functions (e.g. drinking water supply, sanitation, flood protection, water quality, water quantity, rainwater and stormwater); water uses (e.g. domestic, industry, agriculture, energy and environment); and ownership of water management, resources and assets (e.g. public, private, mixed).

The indicator framework is composed of a traffic light system based on 36 input and process indicators and a checklist of broader governance conditions. It concludes with an action plan to prepare and prioritise actions over the short, medium and long run.


Practices help policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders learn from each other and identify pitfalls to avoid when designing and implementing water policies. Learning from practices is about gaining insights from real examples, looking at what works (or has worked) and seeing how others have dealt with challenges. It can also be about learning what does not work, and what successful stakeholders do differently.

To satisfy stakeholders’ needs when searching for practices and the implementation of the OECD Principles on Water Governance, a set of 54 evolving water governance practices were collected to provide examples and lessons that can inspire ambitious reforms and better policies and practices.

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