July 18, 2019

SIWI Launches Source-to-Sea Guide for Practitioners

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Delia Paul

5 July 2019: The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) launched a guide for water resource managers and planners, which outlines a management framework for treating coastal and inland water-related ecosystems as an undivided whole. The guide highlights the benefits of source-to-sea management in linking implementation of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) with SDG 14 (life below water) to address issues such as land-based sources of marine pollution, fragmentation of wildlife habitat, and overall degradation of freshwater, terrestrial and marine environments.

While not specifically mentioned in the SDGs, the need for a source-to-sea approach is referred to in several UN agency programme documents, funding strategies of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), as well as the outcome document from the 2018 Dushanbe High-Level Conference on SDG 6.

The SIWI publication titled, ‘Implementing the Source-to-Sea Approach: A Guide for Practitioners,’ presents the case for source-to-sea management, stating that such an approach can help balance upstream and downstream demands and ensure that the socioeconomic and environmental dimensions of development are considered in an integrated manner. Such an approach is needed, it is argued, to adequately manage issues such as: plastic waste entering the ocean from rivers and waterways; nutrient loads in run-off from agricultural activities, causing eutrophication (excessive presence of nutrients) and “dead zones” in coastal and marine waters; the discharge of inadequately treated wastewater; and the impact of dams and other infrastructure on fish migration and, consequently, food security of populations that depend on the fishery.

The 64-page guide outlines six steps in implementing a source-to-sea approach: 1) selecting priority flows and determining the system boundary; 2) mapping stakeholders and preparing a plan to engage with them; 3) analyzing the governance system and practices related to the priority flows; 4) developing a theory of change and identifying appropriate interventions; 5) funding and implementing source-to-sea actions; and 6) monitoring, disseminating lessons learned, and undertaking adaptive management.

SIWI is calling for source-to-sea linkages to be recognized and addressed as an essential part of action to achieve the SDGs. The organization hosts the Action Platform for Source-to-Sea Management (the S2S Platform), a multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to contribute to global knowledge and promote collaboration to improve the management of land, water, coastal, and marine linkages. The source-to-sea approach was first developed by the S2S Platform and the GEF.