Sub-Committee on Water Resources

The Subcommittee on Water Resources is the focal point for United Nations system-wide coordination in the area of water resources; in particular the implementation of the Mar del Plata Action Plan adopted by the United Nations Water Conference in 1977 and interrelated provisions of Chapter 18 of Agenda 21 as well as other mandates from intergovernmental bodies.

The Subcommittee's main objectives include:

  • Promoting effective coordination and cooperation among the organizations of the United Nations system in the formulation and implementation of their respective programmes;
  • Formulating concerted strategic approaches to integrated water-resources development and management, including capacity-building, institutional issues, human resources development and the role of women in the management of water resources for sustainable development, for application at the national, subregional, regional and global levels, as appropriate;
  • Enhancing effective information exchange among the organizations of the United Nations system and relevant organizations outside the system dealing with water resources;
  • Bringing to the attention of IACSD and to the relevant intergovernmental bodies, issues concerning the development and management of water resources;
  • Promoting public awareness of the growing seriousness of water problems worldwide.

In order to achieve these objectives, members of the Subcommittee collaborate in substantive areas such as: integrated water resources development and management; water resources assessment; protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; drinking water supply and sanitation; water and sustainable urban development; water for sustainable food production and rural development; impacts of climate change on water resources; prevention and mitigation of water-related natural disasters.

Sub-Committee on Oceans and Coastal Areas (SOCA)

SOCA monitors and reviews progress in the implementation of relevant parts of Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, the goal of which is to promote the sustainable utilization and conservation of the marine environment and its resources, both in the oceans and in coastal areas. The Subcommittee also acts as an inter-agency facilitating mechanism for the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.

Its objectives include:

  • integrating relevant sectoral activities addressing environment and development in marine and coastal areas at the national, subregional, regional and global levels, as appropriate;
  • promoting effective information exchange and, where appropriate, institutional linkages between bilateral and multilateral national, regional, subregional and interregional institutions dealing with environment and development in marine and coastal areas;
  • promoting within the United Nations system regular intergovernmental review and consideration of environment and development issues with respect to marine and coastal areas;
  • promoting the effective operation of coordinating mechanisms for the components of the United Nations system dealing with issues of environment and development in marine and coastal areas, as well as links with relevant international development bodies.

The issues that its members cooperate on include: integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas, including exclusive economic zones; marine environmental protection; sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources of the high seas; sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources under national jurisdiction; addressing critical uncertainties for the management of the marine environment and climate change; strengthening international, including regional, cooperation and coordination; sustainable development of small islands.