Budapest Water Summit Identifies Actions to Implement Water-Related Aspects of SDGs
UN Photo/Martine Perret
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The Budapest Water Summit concluded with a ‘Messages’ document containing a menu of options for possible use by governments in their efforts to implement water-related aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the margins of the Summit, the High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) met to review progress since issuing the ‘Call to Action on Water'.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) celebrated the 20th anniversary of the UNECE Water Convention.

30 November 2016: The Budapest Water Summit concluded with a ‘Messages’ document containing a menu of options for possible use by governments in their efforts to implement water-related aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

More than 2,600 participants from 117 countries, including Heads of State from Bangladesh, Mauritius and Tajikistan, attended the Summit, which convened in Budapest, Hungary, from 28-30 November 2016. The resulting ‘Budapest Water Summit Messages’ document notes that water is the most critical natural asset, and recommends that it be embedded within policies related to the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Describing water as an enabler and an inter-connector, the Messages also call for integrated water resources management (IRWM) and a new global political water architecture to ensure consolidated and strong political governance for water within the SDGs and other international agendas. The document states that acting now on water is a matter of human dignity, justice and survival.

The Messages recommend a range of actions, including: establishing or revitalizing institutions that address the allocation and sustainable use of water in a fair, transparent and equitable manner, create mechanisms for participation of all stakeholders and increase public financial investments; ensuring and enhancing women’s involvement in water management; developing a mechanism to support young people’s initiatives; establishing and/or strengthening institutions to foster cooperation around water and enhance the application, effective implementation and accession to UN water conventions; strengthening the capacity to monitor water-related SDG targets and investing in open access to water data; and recognizing the need for an appropriate intergovernmental platform on water and sanitation.

The Summit convened six high-level plenary discussions that addressed: drinking water; sanitation and hygiene; water-use efficiency; IWRM; water quality; and ecosystems. Delegates also heard keynote presentations on four crosscutting issues: climate and disasters; urban systems; transboundary water management; and progress toward a global indicator framework for monitoring the SDGs, including SDG 6 (Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).

During the discussions, participants acknowledged the need for appropriate water pricing policies that support the most vulnerable, increased water productivity in agriculture, intersectoral and transboundary cooperation, and multi-stakeholder efforts towards implementation of SDG 6. They also discussed “blended finance” and public-private partnerships with a view to supporting the development of water infrastructure in developing countries. János Áder, President of Hungary, identified water as the most significant issue of the 21st century.

János Áder, President of Hungary, identified water as the most significant issue of the 21st century.

In his statement, Joaquim Levy, Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer, World Bank, mentioned the upcoming launch of a facility to help countries prepare bankable water projects and secure commercial lenders for resilient development. He said the World Bank Group and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will host the next Sanitation and Water for All High-Level Meeting in April 2017, which will focus on attracting capital to close the financing gap.

A High-Level Special Session on Climate Change and Water underscored the need to maintain the “water momentum” from the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco held in November. Several events took place in parallel to the plenary discussions, including Forums on Women, Civil Society, Science-Technology and Youth, as well as a Sustainable Water Solutions Expo.

At the margins of the Summit, the High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) met to review progress since issuing the ‘Call to Action on Water’ in September 2016 and launching an Action Plan that addresses water innovation, valuing water and disaster risk reduction (DRR). The HLPW discussed the challenge of financing water infrastructure needs, and recommended that the water sector adopt a more collaborative financing paradigm where all stakeholders play an active role and where both existing and new financing sources are utilized. The HLPW also issued a statement, which, among other things calls: for doubling the current level of investment in water infrastructure over the next five years; on countries and stakeholders to mobilize additional funds to the water sector in order to support the realization of SDG 6 and water-related targets; and on development partners to support improving water sector efficiency and mobilizing domestic finance. The HLPW, co-convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim, was launched in April 2016.

Also on the sidelines of the conference, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) celebrated the 20th anniversary of the UNECE Water Convention, with UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach highlighting the Convention’s success in promoting good practices and securing financial resources for projects. [Budapest Water Summit Website] [Budapest Water Summit Messages] [HLPW Website] [HLPW Statement] [Remarks by World Bank Managing Director and CFO] [IISD RS Coverage of the Budapest Water Summit]


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