Developing a Water Security Framework for German Development Cooperation

Indian farmer working on Field

Over the last two decades, the concept of water security has become an increasingly important topic on the global agenda. Water security is essential not only to human and environmental health but also to various sectors such as agriculture and energy. Being a cross-cutting theme and a prerequisite of sustainable and inclusive development, water security is critical to various fields of international development cooperation and an important factor for political stability and climate resilience.

Against this backdrop, GIZ seeks to put a clear focus on water resources security and its various dimensions in its work on broader development goals and especially the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With its diverse portfolio and expertise, German development cooperation institutions in general and GIZ in particular have already made important contributions towards increased water security. Building on this experience, defining a strategic approach for the systematic inclusion of water security goals in GIZ projects and programming is an important next step towards a broader consideration of water security within German development cooperation.

GIZ has commissioned adelphi to develop an impact-oriented framework to operationalise the multi-dimensional water resources concept. The framework served as internal guidance for GIZ’s projects and programmes. Furthermore, the framework served as a basis for communicating GIZ’s expertise and contributions to water security and thus to related development goals. These include, in particular, the objectives of improving climate resilience, preventing conflict, and tackling the root causes of displacement. Despite the complexity of water resources security, the framework provided for a systematic and accessible overview of the various dimensions of water resources security while highlighting the complex interrelations among them. A comprehensive literature review and interviews with experts in the field served as background. Best practice examples illustrated how projects can contribute to water security by means of innovative approaches, creating synergies and mutual benefits amongst the different water-related sectors.