Speakers at the launch event emphasized the value of UN efforts to deliver as one at the country level and interlinkages between action on SDG 6 and other SDGs.
Secretary-General Guterres stressed that the water and sanitation crisis demands a holistic approach, noted that it cuts across all of the pillars of UN, and said he was pleased to see the focus on action at the country level.
The newly launched SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework provides a platform for collaboration to address pressing global water and sanitation challenges, including those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual launch of the Framework was co-chaired by Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. Over 600 participants logged into the launch event, which featured statements from the heads of UN agencies and stakeholders, and a closing statement from António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.
The Framework will seek to support accelerated country progress in five key areas of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation): financing; data and information; capacity development; innovation; and governance. Speakers emphasized the value of UN efforts to deliver as one at the country level and interlinkages between action on SDG 6 and other SDGs.
Houngbo highlighted that the framework introduces an annual moment for stocktaking and sharing of best practices. He also called attention to the importance of World Water Day in 2023, when the midterm review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” will take place. Several speakers noted that this event will be the first UN high-level conference on water since the 1970s.
Among the elements and objectives of the Framework that speakers highlighted were the following:
- Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the UN General Assembly, commended the Framework’s focus on strengthening multistakeholder participation;
- Achim Steiner, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP), noted the value of linking to governance frameworks (SDG 16);
- Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), stressed the importance of a multilateral approach, given that much of the world’s freshwater flows across international boundaries;
- Qu Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stressed the need to address water scarcity;
- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), emphasized that water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are essential for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), stressed the need for addressing WASH needs of slum dwellers and for ensuring that data can inform decision making and investment decisions;
- Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), noted that the Water Convention provides a unique legal platform for addressing shared waters;
- Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), discussed the links between efforts to address climate change adaptation and water related services and science; and
- Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), stressed the need to understand the hydrological cycle, the value of ecosystems, and how much water is embodied in our consumption patterns.
In his closing statement, Secretary-General Guterres stressed that the water and sanitation crisis demands a holistic approach, noted that it cuts across all of the pillars of UN, and said he was pleased to see the focus on action at the country level.
The launch took place on 9 July 2020, during a special event on the sidelines of the 2020 meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). In addition to the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, the SDG 6 Action Space will provide a platform for national governments and other actors to record their initiatives to accelerate SDG implementation. These initiatives will be recorded as part of the SDG Acceleration Actions, a UN DESA online platform. [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]