HLPF Side Event Highlights Critical Role of Water in Integrated SDG Action
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
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Speakers expressed concern about growing disparities in water, sanitation and hygiene access, quality, and affordability within and across countries, noting that billions are being left behind.

The discussions also highlighted the role of water as an instrument for peace, and called for greater attention to water diplomacy as a strategy to promote collaborative approaches.

11 July 2019: A side event exploring the critical role of water in the realization of the SDGs under review at the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) highlighted how reliable water supplies help to achieve a number of SDGs, including: productivity and job security (SDG 8); reduced poverty (SDG 1); human rights, peace and justice (SDG 16); and reduced inequality, especially for marginalized and poor populations, women, and those affected by migration and conflict (SDGs 5 and 10).

The event titled, ‘Water, Crucial to Achieve the SDGs Under Review at the HLPF 2019,’ raised concern about growing disparities in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) access, quality, and affordability within and across countries, noting that billions are “being left behind.” Speakers highlighted the rise of social and economic instability linked to climate change, noting, for example, that 32% of Africa’s population is projected to be water-stressed by 2025.

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), highlighted linkages between SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation) and 4 (quality education), noting that access to adequate WASH and Menstrual Hygiene Management infrastructure reduces absenteeism of both educators and students, minimizes the transmission of diseases, and favors inclusion and dignity, improving enrollment and educational outcomes. She also stressed that WASH is critical for a productive and healthy workforce (SDGs 3 on good health and well-being and 8).

During a panel discussion on best practices for accelerating integrated action between SDG 6 and other Goals at the regional and country level, speakers stressed the need to break silos of water management and improve data management on water and sanitation, especially in the developing world. The discussions also highlighted the role of water as an instrument for peace, and called for greater attention to water diplomacy as a strategy to promote collaborative approaches.

The event was co-organized by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), South Africa, UN Water, UNESCO and the Global Water Partnership (GWP).

IISD Reporting Services is providing coverage of selected side events during the 2019 HLPF. [IISD RS Coverage of the Side Event] [Event Information]


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