Asia-Pacific Water Summit Pledges Drinking Water and Sanitation for All by 2025
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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Water leaders at the Third Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Yangon, Myanmar pledged to provide safe drinking water and sanitation for all by 2025 - five years ahead of the SDG targets.

The Summit also agreed to double investment at the regional level in infrastructure and community-based efforts, to address water-related disasters and significantly increase water security.

Prior to the Summit, ESCAP and UN-Water organized a consultation on monitoring and implementation of SDG 6 in the region.

15 December 2017: Water leaders at the Third Asia-Pacific Water Summit (APWS) in Yangon, Myanmar, have pledged to provide safe drinking water and sanitation for all by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. The Summit also agreed to double investment at the regional level in infrastructure and community-based efforts, to address water-related disasters and significantly increase water security. Prior to the Summit, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN-Water organized a consultation on monitoring and implementation of the SDG on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) in the region.

APWS convened from 11-12 December, under the theme of ‘Water Security for Sustainable Development.’ The meeting discussed implementation of global water policy agendas, including actions towards SDG 6 and SDG 17 on partnerships for the Goals. The Global Water Partnership supported a session on multi-stakeholder partnerships for regional cooperation, in which speakers from the Mekong River Commission and the Myanmar Water Partnership shared their experiences.

The APWS is organized by the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), which has its secretariat at the Japan Water Forum. APWF is a multi-stakeholder forum created by water ministers in the region to encourage more collaboration on water resource management. Previous Summits took place in Japan in 2007 and Thailand in 2013.

The 2017 APWS issued the ‘Yangon Declaration: The Pathway Forward,’ which expresses concern over the gap in ambition between the water-related goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the current threats to water security, from climate change, especially in the lowest-income countries, countries with mountain areas, and Pacific Island Countries.

The Declaration states the intention of Asia-Pacific water leaders to provide safe and affordable drinking water and basic sanitation for all in the region by 2025 – five years in advance of the agreed timeline in the 2030 Agenda, and in keeping with the statement from the First Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Japan. The Declaration expresses commitment to doubling investment at the regional level in infrastructure and community-based efforts, to address water-related disasters and significantly increase water security.

The Yangon Declaration contains a number of commitments to financing the implementation of water-related SDGs, including through the development of innovative and sustainable financial instruments for water-related investments, reforming public finance, and advancing public-private partnerships. It also agrees to develop a regional monitoring system on the financing of water-related SDGs. Participants request the APWF to provide region-specific inputs to the High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW), contribute to the Asian Water Development Outlook, and lead regional contributions to the Eighth World Water Forum in Brazil in March 2018, Singapore International Water Week in July 2018, and Stockholm World Water Week in August 2018.

Prior to the APWS, ESCAP organized a half-day meeting of senior officials from UN-Water members in the Asia-Pacific region on 1 December. The meeting, held in Bangkok, Thailand, sought to consolidate regional recommendations with regard to implementation of SDG 6. It discussed two issues: the possibility of establishing a regional working group for coordinating the work of international organizations on SDG 6; and ways to conduct mapping and monitoring of the current status of SDG 6 at the regional level. The regional working group may be set up under the existing UN-Water Regional Commission Thematic Working Group on Resource-Efficient Growth (TWG-REG), and may engage with non-UN organizations, as well as with organizations within the UN system. Participants considered the possibility of holding an ‘SDG 6 Clinic’ prior to the next meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) to review the state of SDG 6 implementation and related needs in a small number of countries. They noted current efforts by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) Southeast Asia to begin developing an ‘SDG 6 readiness index.’ [APWF Web Page on Third APWS] [Yangon Declaration] [ESCAP Web Page on SDG 6 Regional Consultation with UN-Water Members] [Concept Note on SDG 6 Regional Consultation] [GWP Press Release on SDG 6 Regional Consultation]

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