Section Water

Water in SDC’s Thematic Section Water

​​​The programmes, projects and contributions of the Section Water (SW) meet key global challenges related to the management of water resources, including access to drinking water and the use of water for agriculture, industry, households and nature. By focusing on inequity and poverty, they contribute to the reduction of global risks and the realization of a water-secure world.

To achieve this, the SW engages in political/policy influencing and institution building within the water sector in Switzerland and at global level; promotes innovation in concepts, approaches and technologies that tackle global water challenges; builds partnerships through which additional funding, influence and coverage can lead to large-scale improvements in water services and water resource management; and fosters strategic and action-oriented water knowledge management by means of thematic networks and communities of practice.

The SW acts as a centre of competence and maintains partnerships with academia, the public and private sector and civil society organizations. It operates first and foremost at a global level. In addition, it has regional foci in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Central and East
Asia and draws from a rich experience in Latin America.

The SW hosts and moderates the thematic network RésEAU, which cuts across all the SDC units and partners involved or interested in the issue of water for development. The network is important to make meaningful contributions to the dialogue on global water issues – and to enhance the relevance, coherence and effectiveness of the field operations and policy interventions in the water sector. In addition, the SW works closely with the Section on Food Systems on efficient and sustainable use and management of water for agriculture, and with the Section on Climate, DRR and Environment on adaptation to climate change that directly impacts the water cycle, and thus the availability of water. ​

Strategy of the Section Water

Vision: A water-secure world

Where people have the capacity to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable-quality water; have access to adequate and equitable sanitation in order to sustain livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic develop-ment; ensure protection against waterborne diseases and water-related disasters; and preserve ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.


Strengthen global response to water crises and contribute to ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Principles of Action

All programmes, projects and contributions of the GPW meet key global challenges and contribute to the reduction of globalrisks and focus on inequity and poverty. In line with the Guidelines of the SDC’s global instruments for Developmentand Cooperation 2021–24, the GPW applies the following
three operational principles to bring about systemic changes:

1. Influencing policies and norms by bringing innovative approaches, expertise and experience from local and nationallevels into global policy processes for the development and
the implementation of norms, polices and standards for amore water-secure world;

2. Enabling innovation through projects, programmes and partnerships, in particular building the case on new financingmodels and technologies, as well as new policies, business models, practices, approaches and behavioural insights;

3. Managing knowledge, i.e. action-oriented knowledge generation and exchange, within and beyond Switzerland

Main objectives of the Section Water

The Programme 2021-24 focuses on four strategic objectives and components:

Water, sanitation and hygiene for people
Progress towards universal access to affordable water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) of
good quality is accelerated, using a human rights based approach, and taking into consideration the sustainable management of water resources.

Water, planet and prosperity
A more responsible use of water resources based on the development and the realisation of innova-
tive water-related economic models and approaches, embracing the principles of a circular economy, contributes to transformative change for inclusive growth and adaption to climate change, particularly for those left behind, while preserving water quality, quantity and other natural assets.  
Water and peace
The paradigm of perceiving water as a source of tensions and conflicts has shifted towards pro-
moting water as an instrument for peace and cooperation (Blue Peace) from the community to the global level, aiming for more peaceful, inclusive, cohesive and sustainable societies for present and future generations.

Water voices
The SW aims at raising awareness about the importance of water governance at all levels by pro-
viding a platform for voices and agents of change, with a particular focus on strengthening the voices of women and young people, to urgently prioritise of the need to address the global water crisis in national, regional and international agendas within and beyond the water community.

Find out how SDC and its implemetation partners, apply the four objectives: Have a look at the Documents of the Section Water. You will find tools, project results and factsheets on each project and program of the SW portfolio. Key results and information from some selected projects can be accessed at the end of this page.