High-Level Panels Call for Mainstreaming WASH, Action on Disasters
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The High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) urged governments to mainstream WASH efforts in national, subnational and community-level planning.

The HLPW welcomed the launch of the Water Innovation Engine, a mechanism for coordinating investment and accelerating action toward the SDGs.

The High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) called on Parties to the UNFCCC to make adaptation financing available to the water sector.

21 September 2017: The High Level Panel on Water (HLPW), a panel established by the World Bank and UN to promote action on the Sustainable Development Goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), urged governments to mainstream water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) efforts in national, sub-national and community-level planning. In parallel, the High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) called on Parties to the UNFCCC to make adaptation financing available to the water sector, when they meet in Bonn, Germany in November.

The HLPW issued the statement at its fourth meeting in New York, US. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim attended the meeting in which panel members discussed and agreed on the need to communicate “a new narrative for water.” They also welcomed the launch of the Water Innovation Engine, a mechanism for coordinating investment and accelerating action toward the SDGs. The Water Innovation Engine supports partnerships and provides flexible financing to innovators. It is led by the Government of Australia. Calls are currently open for proposals in two separate funding streams through the Engine: using data to improve water productivity in agriculture; and innovation in urban sanitation.

In a separate statement WASH, the HLPW drew attention to the SDG baselines prepared by the World Health Organization – UN Children’s Fund (WHO-UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme. The baselines show access remains a problem for the 159 million people who still drink untreated water from surface water sources, and 4.5 billion people who do not have sanitation facilities that safely dispose of excreta. They called for robust planning to accelerate action on WASH, supported by reliable evidence, data and analysis.

HELP noted that 90% of all disasters are water-related, such as floods and droughts.

On the same day, HELP held its 10th meeting in Gyeongju, the Republic of Korea. In its statement, HELP noted with great concern the disasters occurring around the world, and called on the international community to take immediate action on relief, rehabilitation and prevention of further disasters. The panel noted that 90% of all disasters are water-related ones, such as floods and droughts, and it urged the international community to implement the goals and targets that were agreed in the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement on climate, and the SDGs. The panel called for treating disaster risk reduction (DRR), water resources management and adaptation to climate change in a unified manner, and encouraged the use of risk assessment tools in long-term development planning.

HELP is an international multi-stakeholder group established in 2007 to promote action on water and disasters. The panel is chaired by Han Seung-soo, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for DRR and Water. [HLPW Press Release] [HLPW WASH Statement] [Water Innovation Engine Web Page] [HELP Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]


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