The goal of the meeting was to demonstrate clear political support and to highlight priority areas for accelerated action.
The meeting contributed to preparations for a conference in 2023 to review progress of the current Decade of Action – Water for Sustainable Development, which will be the first global conference on water since 1977.
The President of the UN General Assembly convened a one-day high-level meeting to promote the implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda. The meeting aimed to support the Decade for Action on Water and Sustainable Development (2018-2028) and to contribute to the 2021 session of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
It is a moral failure that we continue to allow billions of people to live without clean drinking water and the ability to wash their hands.
Opening the meeting on 18 March 2021, UNGA President Volkan Bozkir said its goal was to demonstrate clear political support and highlight priority areas for accelerated action. He noted that almost one-third of the global population lacks safe drinking water. He said it is a moral failure that, in a world with such abundance and innovation, we continue to allow billions of people to live without clean drinking water and the ability to wash their hands.
Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, highlighted three imperatives for action on SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation): using pandemic recovery plans to address the SDGs; raising ambition on climate action; and bringing more women decision makers to the table.
In addition to recorded presentations from UN Member States, two interactive panels took place with some in-person participation from Member States at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The first panel addressed two of the accelerators set out in the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework: data and information; and governance. The second panel addressed ‘Financing, Innovation and Capacity Building.’ Both panels highlighted actions to scale up international cooperation and accelerate concrete action to meet the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.
At the end of the event, the President Bozkir reviewed main messages from the proceedings and commitments made for the lead-up to the UN’s Midterm Review of the Water Action Decade, which will take place in March 2023. He called attention to Member States’ support for:
- Including all people, particularly indigenous groups and young people, in innovative water solutions;
- Connecting efforts on water to the need to preserve land integrity, and to prevent desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD), which he noted will be discussed at a high-level event in May 2021;
- Closing gaps in data and observation systems, particularly by strengthening the role of UN-Water as coordinator, and to better engage the private sector;
- Scaling up financing and innovations; and
- Creating an international panel on water, in line with that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The UN will hold a conference for the midterm review from 22-24 March 2023. It will be the first global conference on water since 1977. [UNGA President’s webpage for high-level event] [UN-Water webpage for high-level event]