Regional preparatory meetings for the midterm review will take place in the first half of 2022, and feed into the 2022 HLPF session.
Themes for the Conference's five interactive dialogues will be finalized at a preparatory meeting in November 2022.
Participants and speakers at the 35th UN-Water meeting suggested bringing Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives on water into the process as early as possible, and engaging youth as partners and not just beneficiaries.
With the UN 2023 Water Conference on the horizon, UN-Water Members, Partners, and observers came together to discuss conference preparations and opportunities, with the objective of ensuring it will be a “watershed moment.”
The 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028) will take place at UN Headquarters in March 2023, co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
The Conference and its modalities are mandated in UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions 73/226 and 75/212, by which the Conference will:
- take place at UN Headquarters in New York from 22-24 March 2023;
- include an opening and closing session, six plenary sessions, and five interactive dialogues, as well as side events organized by participants; and
- result in a summary of proceedings from the UNGA President that will feed into the 2023 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
To determine the themes of the five interactive dialogues, a non-paper is being developed, and the themes will be finalized at the preparatory meeting in November 2022. Regional preparatory meetings for the midterm review will take place in the first half of 2022, and feed into the 2022 HLPF session.
“Expectations are high” for the review conference, according to Tajikistan’s representative at the UN-Water meeting. Sulton Rahimzoda, Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), Co-Chair of the Dushanbe Water Process, and Special Envoy of the President of Tajikistan to the High-level Panel on Water and Climate, noted that the event will be the first dedicated water conference since the 1977 UN Conference on Water in Mar del Plata, Argentina. He said the organizers are striving for concrete commitments that create impact and set a clear agenda for 2023-2030. Rahimzoda emphasized the need for interaction between the formal and informal processes, both to make the Conference more inclusive as well as to build momentum and create broad ownership of its outcomes.
Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, the Netherlands, stressed the need to ensure people better value water and for other sectors to recognize that water is an enablers of their agendas.
Participants and speakers suggested bringing Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives on water into the process as early as possible, and called for engaging youth as partners and not just beneficiaries.
UN-Water Vice-Chair Kelly Ann Naylor recalled that the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework is part of the UN Secretary-General’s work to deliver the SDGs by 2030 and has fostered collaboration to address gaps, develop new initiatives, and focus on country-driven results. Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the UN 2023 Water Conference, linked UN-Water’s initiatives to the UN Secretary-General’s report, ‘Our Common Agenda.’ He said the Agenda is designed to accelerate implementation of existing agreements and initiatives. On SDG 6, such initiatives are the Decade of Water Action 2018-2028 and the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework.
The 35th UN-Water Meeting brought together over 110 representatives from Members, Partners, and observers of this UN interagency coordination mechanism from 4-6 October 2021.
Egypt will hold a policy dialogue on achieving the SDGs in water-scarce countries on 24 October 2021, in Cairo. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin meeting coverage]