Accompanying the release of the new SDG 6.3.2 Status Report on Global Water Quality, GEMS/Water has published two interactive Story Maps with background information, videos, charts and maps.

The first Story Map “Global updates and acceleration needs” showcases the findings and key insights from the 2020 data drive, and how this information can support action designed to improve and protect water quality. Using real-world examples, these actions are described through the five accelerators of the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, and that transformative change can be achieved within the lifetime of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The second Story Map “Methodology and implementation examples” provides background information on the indicator methodology and its constituent parts. To demonstrate how the indicator has been implemented in different world regions, six case studies are presented that reflect differing national situations. These case studies demonstrate that regardless of a country’s capacity to monitor and assess water quality, the indicator can provide vital information for the management of water resources, whilst simultaneously providing insight into national capacity gaps and that can be used to guide future development and support.

To learn more about SDG indicator 6.3.2 visit the SDG 632 Webpage or Support Platform ​and contact us at

Note of Condolence

On behalf of UNEP, the World Water Quality Alliance, WWQA, and the Global Environment Monitoring System for Water, GEMS/Water,

The team would like to express heartfelt condolences for the passing of Ms. Rowena Hay, to her family, friends, and colleagues.

Water and people were her passion. Bringing worldviews to an individual’s perspective and engaging in making peoples' lives a little better was what Rowena Hay did full heartedly and with the ambition to leave no one behind.

As one of the coordinating lead authors for the water chapter in the sixth edition of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO 6) and as a valued partner of the World Water Quality Alliance from the start, she always gave guidance and inspiration. She shared a people-centred view on water, environment, and equality.

We say an untimely farewell to a wonderful person, a close friend, and a patient colleague who was always full of humour and stamina, even when navigating rough “waters”. Her memory will remain lively and we wish her husband, family, friends and close one’s strength, health, faith, and patience to walk the future without her but certainly with her spirit always present.

With Best Regards,
WWQA and GEMS/Water


Welcome to the ninth edition of the UN Environment Programme GEMS/Water Capacity
Development Centre (CDC) newsletter.

We hope that you are safe and well. The last six months have been busy for the Centre despite
the postponement of some training, travel and field activities. We are still mostly working from
home as we have been since the Covid-19 pandemic reached Ireland in February. Our team and
colleagues internationally have adapted to working fully on-line which has enabled us to meet
people virtually and to continue much of our capacity development work, including delivering our
on-line training courses. As this year draws to a close, the first phase of GEMS/Water capacity
development ends and plans are being finalised for new activities for the next phase, starting in
January 2021. All the Centre staff are taking a much-needed break over the Christmas period and
will be off-line from 18th December to 4th January.

I hope you enjoy reading about our activities over the last six months. Please keep in contact and
let us know how we can contribute to improving the water quality monitoring capacity of your
country or region

Stay safe, and we wish you all a Very Happy New Year.

Dr Debbie Chapman
Director, UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre

Over the last six months, GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre (CDC) has implemented a number of successful activities, such as face-to-face training workshops, meetings and continued its various online courses. For more details, please take a look at the latest newsletter from our colleagues in Cork, Ireland. 

To read the full newsletter:

Nairobi and Vientiane, 16 January 2020 - The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Global Environmental Monitoring Programme for Freshwater (GEMS/Water) and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate collaboration in the area of water quality monitoring and further their shared goals. Water Quality Monitoring is one of the key environmental monitoring activities of the MRC and has provided a continuous record of water quality in the Mekong River and its tributaries. Recognising that water quality issues are trans-boundary by nature, MRC Member Countries support the regional Procedures for Water Quality with the objective to maintain good/acceptable water quality and to promote the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin.

Even before having the MoU in place, MRC and GEMS/Water have collaborated in the area of capacity development. Over the years, MRC has participated in various regional training activities of the GEMS/Water Programme. Most recently, GEMS/Water experts were invited to deliver Water Quality Monitoring training at workshop organized by MRC in Vientiane, Lao PDR, from 19th to 21st February 2019. The workshop brought together regional experts from the four Member Countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Viet Nam) and the training topics covered options for monitoring water bodies (physical, chemical and biological); data storage, sharing, presentation and analysis; preparation of a water quality report; and reviewing and evaluating an existing monitoring programme. In this process, several topics were identified that will be addressed during specific training workshops in the future.

In addition to joint capacity development activities, the other areas of collaboration under the MoU include networking and outreach; data and information sharing and management; and sharing of expertise through consultancy services. Discussion on joint activities for the current year under the newly signed MoU are underway. The signing of the MoU paves the way for great synergy between the two entities to work on activities of mutual interest and benefit as relevant to water quality monitoring.

The GEMS/Water team would Iike to invite members of our National Focal Points to apply for the short courses we will be offering early next year. We are in the process of registering interested participants in two online courses:

The short courses are delivered by our Capacity Development Centre at University College Cork (UCC). The next round of courses will start in January so the registration for the course would need to be done by mid-December. As the courses are offered through a university, the participation requires the fulfillment of certain academic/professional and language requirements:

A BSc in Environmental Science or similar subject; or a relevant professional qualification; or a portfolio of work and experience in the area of water quality monitoring. Candidates who do not hold a BSc will be judged on a case-by-case basis as to their suitability for the programme, subject to the approval of the college of Science, Engineering and Food Science. Candidates, for whom English is not their primary language, should possess an IELTS of 6.5 (or TOEFL equivalent) with no less than 6.0 in each individual category.

Kindly be aware that participating in both online courses will require a time investment of approximately 4 hours per week.

We are exploring options of how to loosen the language requirement slightly for our partners from non-English speaking countries but right now we need to comply with UCC’s rules.

If you have candidates working within your country’s National Focal Point Organization who fulfill the requirements and are working as technical practitioners on water quality monitoring and data management, we would like to invite you to send us their CVs with a short description of current tasks of these candidates and the filled-out registration form. We cannot guarantee a place for everyone but will try to accommodate as many as possible after reviewing the nominations.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us in case you have any questions.

Best regards, 

GEMS/Water Team