Regional and national policy dialogues on water


European Union Water Initiative (EUWI): Water Policy Reforms in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA).

In addition to analytical work, the OECD works with selected regions and countries to facilitate the reform of water policies. This confirms our aspiration to make reform happen.


European Union |  Korea   l   Brazil   l   The Netherlands   l   Mexico   l  EECCA



European Union

The 2020 - 2022 initiative with the European Commission-DG Environment aims at supporting the economic aspects of implementing the Water Framework and Floods Directives in European Member States. This OECD – EC DG Environment initiative also aims to improve investment decisions for the implementation of European water directives. It seeks to strengthen Member States’ capacity to deliver in an efficient manner on the Directives’ environmental objectives, making the best use of economic analysis and instruments.

The initiative has taken the form of a sequence of four online thematic workshops, followed by a fifth concluding workshop, co-convened by the OECD and EC DG Environment. The workshops focused on (1) Water investment planning and financing, (2) The implementation of the Polluter Pays Principle, (3) The economics of water scarcity, and (4) Cost recovery.



The 2018 report Managing the Water-Energy-Land-Food Nexus in Korea: Policies and Governance Options assesses the key bottlenecks within the water-energy-land-food nexus in Korea, and proposes policy recommendations and governance arrangements to future-proof environmental integrity and enhance sustainable growth. The increasing pressure caused by urbanisation, industrialisation, population growth and climate change in Korea has led to more land consumption and augmented water supply, at the expense of the environment and at a high cost for public finance. Korea has engaged with the OECD via a national policy dialogue to explore best practices from the wider international community to better manage the nexus at the river basin scale.

Launched at the 2017 Korean International Water Week, the report Enhancing Water Use Efficiency in Korea: Policy Issues and Recommendations' main objective is to enhance water efficiency in Korea, by promoting innovation while minimising the need for additional infrastructures; and focuses on three related areas: i) pricing instruments under the remit of MoLIT and K-water; ii) the promotion of innovation, in particular the smart water management; and iii) water allocation regimes. Active participation of other ministries and stakeholders is sought.‌

In 2016, the OECD and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MoLIT) embarked on a policy dialogue aimed at advancing the water agenda under the responsibility of MoLIT, to ensure that water management contributes to a sustainable and creative economy in Korea.‌


The 2017 report Water Charges in Brazil: The Way Forward examines the current system of water abstraction and pollution charges in operation in Brazil. It assesses the current system’s implementation challenges and provides possible solutions. The report explores how water charges can be both an effective means for dealing with water security issues, and a tool for enhancing economic growth and social welfare. Specific analysis is put forward for three case studies in the State of Rio de Janiero, the Paraiba do Sul River Basin and the Piancó-Piranhas-Açu River Basin. The report highlights that water charges need to operate in conjunction with an effective water regulatory regime and concludes with an Action Plan based on practical steps and recommendations for its implementation in the short, medium and long-term.

The 2015 report Water Resources Governance in Brazil captures the main messages and sets an action plan. Water is abundant in Brazil, but unevenly distributed across regions and users. Brazil faces at the same time severe droughts and an overabundance of water. For example, the 2015 drought in the São Paulo region occurred at the same time the Amazon region suffered severe flooding. Future economic, demographic, and climate trends make these issues more critical, as they affect rainfall variability, availability and demand, and increase the number of people and assets at risk.

The National Water Agency called on the OECD to i) clarify the institutional arrangements, and in particular the interplay between federal and state initiatives; and ii) review prevailing water allocation regimes, with a view to enhance water efficiency at least cost for the community.


Cover: Water Governance Netherlands

Two-thirds of the Dutch territory, more than half of the population and two-thirds of the economic activity, are at risk of flood. As a result, water management has long been a national security issue for The Netherlands. Due to this unique situation, and centuries of concerted effort and dedicated ingenuity to “keep feet dry”, the Dutch have become a global leader in water management. 

However, in the face of broader administrative reforms, fiscal tightening and increasing water challenges due to climate change, a number of key questions have emerged: how fit is the current system to meet future challenges? Are the current water governance and institutional arrangements effective and resilient? Is the Dutch society willing and able to pay the rising costs of water management? Can the Dutch “polder” approach effectively address issues related to the quality of the rivers and lakes, and cope with increasing risks of both floods and scarcity in the country.

To shed light on these questions, the OECD-Netherlands Policy Dialogue on Water Governance was set up. The report Water Governance in the Netherlands: Fit for the Future? flags issues which could shape an agenda for future water policies in the Netherlands.



Mexico’s 2030 Water Agenda, designed by the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA), advocates for a new paradigm for more efficient management of water resources and services. The OECD worked with Mexico to provide evidence-based assessment, analytical guidance, and customised policy recommendations in support of its water policy reforms. The process was based on OECD tools, methodologies and frameworks, and involved high-level peer reviewers and experts from Australia, Brazil, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

The process was useful to engage stakeholders, particularly as the Head of State and senior officers at the Mexican Water Commission changed during the course of the project. 

The report Making Water Reform Happen in Mexico was handed over to the President of Mexico right after his election to serve as a reference for major policy reforms. It is being used by donors to target their co-operation.

WATER POLICY DIALOGUEs in easterN europe, the caucasus and central asia

The OECD assists the EECCA countries in adopting a more integrated approach to water management, applying robust economic and financial analyses and improving multistakeholder participation. It also helps in identifying and removing some of the key obstacles to effective and efficient water management, while reflecting countries’ level of socio-economic development. This work is part of the EECCA component of the European Union Water Initiative (EUWI), for which the OECD is a strategic partner, together with the UNECE. The EUWI EECCA is funded by the European Union with co-financing from Austria, Finland, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland.

The EUWI EECCA combines a regional co-operation dimension, where countries in the region share experience on waterrelated challenges and successful reforms; and country specific multi-year National Policy Dialogues (NPDs), where the OECD and UNECE facilitate reforms in the field of integrated water resource management and/or water supply and sanitation. The OECD focuses on the economic aspects of water resources management (policy coherence, managing water for growth and making the best use of economic instruments for water management), and on the financial sustainability of water supply and sanitation services (strategic and mid-term financial planning and financial support mechanisms to the sector). The UNECE focuses on the co-operation related to the trans-boundary waters.

OECD Water Policy Dialogues in EECCA

Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia map Water policy dialogues in EECCA






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