With this funding priority, the BMBF aims to strengthen the concept of IWRM in developing and emerging countries. The areas under investigation are generally river basins or parts thereof, or settlement areas with bodies of water. The aim is to improve the actual living conditions of people living in these areas. At the same time, international cooperation in the field of water is supported and interdisciplinary cooperation cooperation between science, authorities and industry strengthened. Another aim is to give German companies operating in the water and environment sectors easier access to new markets.

The goal of halving the number of people without access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 was formulated at the UN Millennium Summit in New York (2000) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002). In these efforts, high hopes are being pinned on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), a concept that was already established at an international level in 1992, in the Dublin Principles and Agenda21. The quantitatively and qualitatively sustainable management of interlinked surface waters, aquifers and coastal waters has the aim of supporting social and economic development and strengthening the efficiency of ecosystems.

IWRM is a process that aims to maximize social and economic well-being while avoiding damage to vital ecosystems and creating fair conditions for the utilization of resources. In this context, ecological goals must be linked to economic and social goals. In order to develop satisfactory water utilization concepts, all public and private stakeholders need to actively participate in the planning and decision-making process.

The IWRM funding priority is international in outlook and has the aim of developing adapted and transferable IWRM concepts in selected model regions of manageable size outside the European Union in order to:

  • Help improve the local population’s access to clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal
  • Improve the position of German companies in international water management markets
  • Support bilateral and multilateral water cooperation
  • Encourage transdisciplinary and international cooperation between the areas of science, industry, administration and supply/disposal practice
  • Strengthen Germany’s position as a key economic, educational and research location

Relevant results from related BMBF-funded projects in this field, for example “Export-oriented research and development in the field of water supply and wastewater treatment” and “Decentralized supply and disposal systems” are to be taken into account wherever appropriate.

The funding priority currently includes five projects in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. One decisive issue is the potential contribution of adapted water/environmental technologies and the transfer of know-how towards the establishment of IWRM in each model region. All projects are based on an integrated approach in which the interests of all stakeholders are taken into account. Natural, ecological and socio-economic conditions must also be taken into consideration. Depending on the region, different key problems are tackled and appropriate solutions developed.


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