2016 Annual Report

2016 was a year of action, with countries designing their plans to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commitments in the Paris Agreement. We saw the large majority of low-income countries highlight water in their Nationally Determined Contributions. This was a resounding confirmation of our view of water as a connector between the SDGs, different actors, countries and people.

This annual report offers snapshots of our work. If you want more information about any specific project, please browse our websites or contact us.

We saw that a large majority of low-income countries and all countries in sub-Saharan Africa highlighted water in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This was a resounding confirmation of our view that water is a connector between the SDGs, different actors, countries and people.

Over the last few years there has been steady progress to improve water resources management and services for more inclusive and sustainable growth. The world is now working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, hopefully resulting in even greater and more sustainable access to water and sanitation, as well as more holistic wastewater management and resilient freshwater ecosystems.

SIWI made significant contributions to a more water wise world in 2016, but is also humbled by the water challenges that lie ahead, primarily driven by changing demographics, socio-economic growth patterns and climate change. In the midst of such changes SIWI will continue to influence relevant public and private decision-makers and contribute to improved governance and increased investments.

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SIWI’s vision is a water wise world. In order to realize that vision, we…

…generate knowledge about and solutions to the world’s water challenges
…link actors across communities and regions to catalyze sustainable solutions
…influence public and private actors to integrate water in policy and practice
…build capacity for water wise actions
…award and promote excellence that inspires and contributes to a water wise world

  • The Stockholm Junior Water Prize celebrated its 20th year in 2016. This was an excellent opportunity to launch our new alumni network, the WaterTank.
  • World Water Week remains the most important global annual meeting place for water decision-makers, being used for monitoring and following up international, water-related processes. It has also been instrumental in innovation around concepts such as green and blue water, virtual water and water integrity.
  • SIWI made important contributions to water governance, for example, strengthening institutions and policy in relation to water supply and sanitation, and making critical contributions to the OECD Water Governance Principles.
  • We also continued our thought leadership in water diplomacy, hosting the International Symposium on Water Diplomacy with the International Centre for Water Cooperation (ICWC). SIWI has had continued success in Euphrates-Tigris and Nile Basins, receiving appreciation for our customized and unique approaches, and contributed to discussions on water and security in the UN Security Council.
  • Finally, through Swedish Water House cluster groups, SIWI engaged food and beverage producers in Sweden to create a tool that fosters and promotes a more harmonized approach to water management. In another, we persuaded the Swedish forestry sector to commit to integrating water into sustainable forestry practices globally – a move that has been recognized internationally.

Staff growth and direction | In 2016 SIWI had 72 full-time staff, nearly half (45 per cent) of whom joined SIWI from (25) other countries. Find out more about our board and our team.

Partly in response to changing financial conditions and administrative challenges, SIWI restructured parts of the organization. It consolidated the five themes outlined at the beginning of the strategy period, to three priority areas, allowing SIWI to strengthen its efforts where it would provide the most benefit.

In addition to these priority areas, SIWI continues to advance its agenda through Swedish Water House, World Water Week & Prizes and the Africa Regional Centre (ARC) in South Africa. SIWI also established a cross-departmental partnership group in 2016.

Revenues | SIWI revenues reached MSEK 108 in 2016, up nearly 8 per cent compared with 2015.

SIWI has learnt from its strong growth over recent years. The rapid growth in operations led to a need to strengthen functions of financial and administrative control and human resources functions. A graphical breakdown of income categories and cost allocation, per department, is available below.


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  • Stockholm Water Prize | The world’s most prestigious water prize shines a light on the change-makers of the water world and inspires action towards a water wise world. The 2016 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Professor Joan B. Rose, was awarded for her contributions to global public health, in particular, assessing risks to human health in water and creating guidelines and tools for decision-makers and communities to improve global health.
    Current Stockholm Water Prize Founders >>
  • Stockholm Junior Water Prize | Celebrating its 20th Jubilee in 2016, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize has attracted nearly a quarter of a million applicants from over 30 countries since 1996. The Prize helps launch the next generation of water entrepreneurs. Three students from Thailand – Sureeporn Triphetprapa, Thidarat Phianchat and Kanjana Komkla, received the 2016 prize for their innovative water retention device which mimics the water retention of the Bromeliad plant.



The Patron of the Prize, H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden’s interest in water issues has grown in 2016, demonstrated by his request for SIWI and other partners to organize a roundtable on land and water ownership for his 70th birthday. Also, during the King’s annual televised Christmas message, he referenced water scarcity and sustainability and shared images of himself and Crown Princess Victoria speaking at World Water Week.

SIWI is convinced that long lasting effects of interventions towards a water wise world can only be reached when decision-makers make water wise decisions.
  • The Water Integrity MENA programme continued to implement water action plans. Government departments responsible for water in Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia made requests for water integrity strategies, demonstrating a significant step forward in engagement and a possible opportunity to expand the impact and scope of future activities in the project.
  • Through the World Water Week Journalist Grant, SIWI offered three journalists from developing countries working grants to the Week, thereby building their capacity in water issues, contributing to influencing large audiences, including decision-makers, toward water-wise decisions, as well as strengthening SIWI’s reputation as a reliable source of water knowledge.
  • The Shared Waters Partnership’s Eastern Nile media training helped broaden stakeholder engagement (media). It also contributed to the production and dissemination of over 50 well-informed articles about cooperation challenges, opportunities and solutions.
  • In Togo, the GoAL WaSH programme supported a study on drinking water supply systems in semi-urban areas, which provided a diagnosis and proposed action plan to help improve them. Following this, the Government of Togo committed to invest USD 23.4 million to improve water systems in semi-urban areas.
SIWI generates and promotes knowledge, solutions and tools leading to water-wise decisions for sustainable development.
  • Building on its collaboration on the Accountability for Sustainability Programme (WGF), UNICEF acknowledged governance in WaSH as a critical part of realizing its long-term WaSH strategy for 2016-2030. SIWI also took part in reviewing the strategy as an external partner.
  • Building on its research and ability to bridge between the different national riparian processes, priorities and financing actors, SIWI elevated discussion of transboundary governance and financing opportunities to strengthen regional cooperation in the Lower Jordan Basin.
  • SIWI’s Water Governance Facility developed a methodological framework to explain the main WaSH governance functions, and how they relate to the broader enabling environment in a country. The framework inspired the version 2.0 of UNICEF’s WaSH Bottleneck Analysis Tool, the most used WaSH sector analysis tool, and the content of the Building Blocks for WaSH sector development, adopted by the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership at the Addis Ababa High Level Meeting of sector ministers in March 2016.
    View our publications library >>
SIWI is convinced that long lasting effects of interventions towards a water wise world can only be reached when decision-makers make water wise decisions.
  • SIWI helped establish and launch of the High Level Panel on Water together with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. SIWI is part of a core group of expert organizations supporting the Panel, and provided it with a background paper on valuing water.
  • The Guardian increased its media partnership for World Water Week to include both Global Development Professionals Network and Sustainable Business, attendance by the Editor of Environment, and moderators, helping to increase coverage of World Water Week and SIWI. Global Citizen also became a media partner, increasing outreach to a global youth audience. Both partnerships will continue in 2017.
SIWI has done extensive work to develop knowledge and link actors across scales and sectors to catalyze sustainable water solutions.
  • In addition to Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, World Water Week attracted then UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, His Eminence Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican, Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the OECD and Manuel Pulgar-Vidar, head of the Conference of the Parties.
  • SIWI launched the WaterTank, a digital alumni network for the finalists in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition. It helps participants to connect and collaborate with each other, as well as mentors and partners, to advance their water projects or develop careers in a water-related field. It has also helped to attract three new countries to the competition in 2017 and interest from influential mentors and partners, and uncovered success stories from previous winners.


  • The International Centre for Water Cooperation (ICWC) hosted the International Symposium on Water Diplomacy, bringing together 65 researchers, diplomats, thought leaders and practitioners to discuss water diplomacy as an approach to conflict transformation, peacebuilding and regional cooperation. The event positioned the ICWC and SIWI as thought leaders in the field.   
  • SIWI organized a side event at the UNHQ in New York together with the Swedish Mission to the UN. Then UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson delivering the keynote. Other speakers included Hakima El Haite, Minister Delegate responsible for the Environment, Morocco, and representatives from Mauritius and Jordan.
  • Through Swedish Water House cluster groups, SIWI engaged food and beverage producers in Sweden to create a tool that fosters and promotes a more harmonized approach to water management.