2 February 2018: During the 28th UN-Water meeting, UN-Water Members and Partners discussed upcoming high-level events and report launches related to water and sanitation policy and practice, including implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).

The 28th UN-Water Meeting convened from 1-2 February 2018, in Rome, Italy, at the headquarters of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Approximately 50 delegates of UN-Water Members and Partners registered for the event, representing the UN Secretariat and UN agencies, funds, programs and other entities; multilateral environmental agreements; and civil society organizations. An additional 20 observers from governments and other organizations attended.

Among the upcoming events and launches, participants discussed the report of the High Level Panel on Water, which represents the first time the UN and the World Bank have convened a panel at the Heads of State and Government level. The report launch is slated for mid-March 2018. Also in March, the global water and sanitation community will gather in Brasilia, Brazil, for the 8th World Water Forum, which will coincide with the annual celebration of World Water Day, on 22 March. As World Water Day commences under the theme, ‘Nature for Water,’ the UN General Assembly President will convene a high-level event at UN Headquarters to launch the International Decade for Action – Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028) on the Day.

In preparation for an in-depth review of SDG 6 implementation, one of the sub-set of SDGs to receive such a review during the July 2018 meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), UN-Water Members have coordinated their efforts to establish a baseline for the SDG 6 indicators. This work will culminate in the launch of the SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018, prior to the HLPF. The 28th UN-Water meeting noted initial data sets, as well as data gaps, for many of the SDG 6 indicators. For example, in 2015, for indicator 6.2.1 (proportion of population using safely managed sanitation services), 39% of the global population used a safely managed sanitation service, while 12% practiced open defecation. For indicator 6.5.2 (proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation), participants noted a high level of participation despite the sensitivity of the issue for many countries. Nonetheless, intensive engagement with countries has been necessary to validate the data, and further capacity building on the indicator is necessary.

UN-Water Members and Partners agreed that UN-Water will initiate a public dialogue on the main findings of the SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018, starting in April 2018 at a briefing for UN Permanent Missions in New York, US. Feedback received from the public dialogue will be presented at subsequent fora, including the UN-Water Stakeholder Dialogue at the Stockholm World Water Week in August 2018, and the UN-Water Task Force on the SDG 6 Synthesis Report will consolidate and disseminate the feedback by the end of 2018.

UN-Water Members and Partners are contributing to these upcoming events and reports as the UN development system undertakes reform geared towards delivering on the 2030 Agenda. At the conclusion of the 28th meeting of UN-Water, a group of observing UN Member States stressed the importance of strategically coordinating and aligning the efforts of UN-Water and its Members with the 2030 Agenda and the reform of the UN development system, including through coordination at the country level. In this light, the observers reiterated the importance of harmonized efforts and of UN-Water’s mandate to foster coordination within the UN to achieve the 2030 Agenda. [IISDRS summary coverage of UN-Water 28th Meeting] [IISDRS summary coverage of UN-Water 27th Meeting]