Discussions were organized around the themes of the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework – financing, data and information, capacity development, innovation, and governance – and the themes of the UN 2023 Water Conference.
In addition to seven panel sessions, a treaty ceremony took place during the Special Event to mark the deposit of the instruments of accession by the Gambia to the two UN water conventions.
To follow up on the UN 2023 Water Conference, many government representatives supported appointing a Special UN Envoy on water.
The 2023 edition of the SDG 6 Special Event, which convenes during annual meetings of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), focused on the outcomes of the UN 2023 Water Conference and hosted a treaty ceremony for the Gambia’s accession to two UN water conventions.
The first SDG 6 Special Event, in 2020, launched the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, which seeks to support accelerated country progress on SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) across five key cross-cutting themes: financing; data and information; capacity development; innovation; and governance. Discussions during the 2023 edition were organized around linkages between these themes and the themes of the UN 2023 Water Conference.
In a keynote remark to set the stage for the full-day event, Gilbert Houngbo, UN-Water Chair and International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, emphasized the need to integrate water into all relevant governmental decisions and make the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework a comprehensive UN system-wide strategy.
Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic Development, said the UN system can strengthen its support for SDG 6 progress and implementation of Water Action Agenda commitments at the country level, including through the UN Resident Coordinator system, UN Country Teams, and UN country programming instruments such as the common country analysis and UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.
Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), recalled that, during the UN 2023 Water Conference, world leaders committed to take forward the Water Action Agenda, laid the foundation to value water, and recommitted to uphold the human right to water and sanitation for all. He also noted that the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework is the “best in class” toolkit to help accelerate progress.
Kelly Ann Naylor, UN-Water SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2023 Lead Writer, spotlighted the report’s findings, including that, to achieve the SDG 6 targets by 2030, we need to work six times faster on drinking water, five times faster on sanitation, and three times faster on hygiene.
In addition to seven panel sessions, a treaty ceremony took place during the Special Event to mark the deposit of the instruments of accession by the Gambia to the two UN water conventions – the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes and the Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses. Immediately prior to submitting his country’s documents to accede to the two treaties, Musa Drammeh, Minister for Fisheries, Water, and National Assembly Matters, the Gambia, emphasized the role of transboundary water cooperation for achieving the SDGs and peace and stability in the region.
To follow up on the discussions during the UN 2023 Water Conference, many government representatives supported convening regular intergovernmental meetings on water, appointing a Special UN Envoy on water, and developing a UN system-wide strategy on water.
Youth participants highlighted ways to foster the role of youth in delivering SDG 6, including by treating youth inclusion as a cross-cutting issue and not a stand-alone issue, and creating a youth water envoy.
Mina Guli, Water Advocate and Ultrarunner, served as Master of Ceremonies throughout the day and shared stories from communities she had visited around the world and their “clear message that we need real action now.”
The full-day event, which was addressed by over 50 high-level panelists, took place on 17 July 2023 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. [ENB Coverage of SDG 6 and Water Action Agenda Special Event]