Only 3% of the earth’s water is freshwater; about two-thirds of it is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps and we have long over-stretched this precious resource.



Water is the source of all life and
needs to be managed carefully


for people

+ 50 %

increase in global water demand by 2030

for nature

- 80%

decline in freshwater biodiversity since 1970

for security


of all natural disasters are water-related

How we engage

Our work focuses on water governance that integrates the needs of people and nature, the implementation of sustainable water resource management to secure water-related ecosystem services and conserve freshwater biodiversity, and support increased investment in ecosystems as natural water infrastructure. 


Section Slider

  • In the spotlight:

    Lake Titicaca - Empowering women and improving water governance

    Lake Titicaca was once worshipped by the Incas who proclaimed its deep blue waters were the birthplace of the sun. Today the lake is heavily polluted.

    This visual feature tells the story of how the BRIDGE project is helping to empower women and improve water governance in the Titicaca basin shared between Bolivia and Peru.

    Twitter @IUCN_Water and @UICN_SUR

  • In the spotlight:

    BRIDGE: Hydrodiplomacy in Action

    Globally, over 310 lake and river basins stretch across national borders. Around 60% of those lack any type of cooperative management framework. Good transboundary water management is crucial for peace, security, economic development and environmental sustainability.


    Find out what the BRIDGE project is and how it is supporting improved water governance across borders.


    Twitter: @IUCN_Water / Facebook: IUCN.Water (#BRIDGE #watergovernance #transboundary)



  • In the spotlight:

    The Future of Dams - Viable Options or Stranded Assets?

    Since the 1997 IUCN-World Bank study 'Large Dams: Learning from the Past, Looking at the Future' and the subsequent establishment of the World Commission on Dams, IUCN recognises dams are, for better or worse, an integral part of a post fossil-fuel future in which energy needs are met for all.

    This story feature reviews global energy needs and explores the challenges and complexities of dams.


  • In the spotlight:

    World Water Week 2019

    In 2019, World Water Week addresses the central theme “Water for society – Including all”. Experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the world’s most pressing water-related challenges.

    The conference takes place in Stockholm, Sweden, from 25 - 30 August 2019.


    The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #WWWeek, IUCN will be tweeting live updates via @IUCN_Water.


    Check our IUCN Events Calendar at WWW for more information on sessions, seminars and workshops. 


  • In the spotlight:

    Better the balance, better the world

    International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.


    In 2019 the theme ‘Better the balance, better the world’ focused on celebrating women's achievements, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for equality, check our visual story or follow hashtag #BalanceForBetter


  • Selous Game Reserve, World Heritage, Tanzania All rivers within Selous Game Reserve belong to the Rufiji system, Tanzania's largest basin Photo: IUCN / Tilman Jaeger

    IUCN-outsourced paper finds no proof Rufiji dam project can meet Tanzania’s development needs


    A strategic environmental assessment meant to guide decisions on the Rufiji hydropower project in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve World Heritage site is completely inadequate, according to an independent technical review commissioned and issued today by IUCN....

  • Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Photo: IUCN/Kristin Meyer

    Taking stock of three years of Water-Energy-Food Nexus Dialogues in Central Asia


    The Central Asian region experiences rapid demographic changes, suffers from water, energy and food insecurities and is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Environmental degradation and scarcity, as well as the uneven distribution of natural...

  • Water Diplomacy Workshop, OSCE, Strasbourg Nov 2019 Photo: ©OSCE

    Water cooperation: diplomacy from source to sea


    Managing transboundary rivers and lakes requires cooperation and diplomacy between States, yet region-specific differences can hamper these efforts. A recent Water Diplomacy workshop looked at best practices from established river...

Follow IUCN Water


Learn more

Sugarcane grower, SUSTAIN Initiative, Tanzania Photo: Maria Ana Borges


Bridging water security and sustainable development. Building sustainable and inclusive growth to improve water and food security and climate resilience.


Wise Up Photo: © shutterstock Vladimir

WISE-UP to Climate

WISE-UP or 'Water Infrastructure Solutions from Ecosystem Services Underpinning Climate Resilient Policies and Programmes'


BRIDGE basins_alt map_2019 Photo: IUCN Water Programme


BRIDGE - Building River Dialogue and Governance. This project aims to build water governance capacities through learning, demonstration, leadership, and consensus-building, in particular in transboundary river basins.


Cover: Women as change-makers Photo: ©IUCN Water

New report

Women as change-makers in the governance of shared waters


Quick reads

Aimed at policy-makers and journalists, IUCN Issues Briefs provide key information on selected issues in a two-pager format.

thumbnail_iucn_issues_cc_peatlands Photo: thumbnail_iucn_issues_cc_peatlands

Peatlands and climate change

Peatlands are a type of wetlands that occur in almost every country on Earth, currently covering 3% of the global land surface. The term ‘peatland’ refers to the peat soil and the wetland habitat...
Thumbnail_CC and Water issues brief Photo: IUCN

Water and climate change

Water and weather, the delicate balance between evaporation and precipitation, is the primary cycle through which climate change is felt. As our climate changes, droughts, floods, melting glaciers,...
Go to top