World Water Day; 2023 UN Water Conference
The first UN water conference in almost 50 years took place in New York last week, around the occasion of World Water Day.
We were represented at the multi-day event by Mariano Blanco (AEAS), our General Assembly Representative from Spain and Executive Committee member.
The conference was billed as “a watershed moment to mobilize Member States, the UN system and stakeholders alike to take action and bring successful solutions to a global scale.”
Mariano spoke on our behalf in two side events. The first was on ‘Regional Cooperation as a key to accelerating SDG 6 implementation – The Danube Water Program as lighthouse example to improve water and sanitation services within the Danube region’, where he promoted the EurEau Innovation Sharing Platform as a key element to advance innovation.
The second was the ‘Public Dialogue on the UN-Water SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2023’, where Mariano spoke about PPPs and their importance in undertaking investments and being able to improve access to drinking water and sanitation.
Overall, the themes that emerged from the conference were ones we all recognise: digitalisation, access, resilience, sustainability, innovation, and affordability.
An important outcome document of the UN Water Conference is the Water Action Agenda, which to date brings together 689 commitments by countries, organisations, institutions and NGOs from around the world on activities that will contribute to accelerating the implementation of Goal 6 of the United Nations (UN) 2030 SDG Agenda.
Overall, the main highlights and conclusions of the conference included:
- preparation of national integrated water and climate policies by 2030;
- development of a global water information system;
- development of early warning systems for extreme water events;
- redefinition of financing policies and the development of new economic models to achieve the SDG in the water sector;
- establishment of a global water education network to help developing countries;
- development and enforcement of transboundary water cooperation agreements;
- redefinition of the UN institutional framework on water, including the appointment of a UN Special Envoy on Water and an independent UN Scientific Panel on Water;
- intergovernmental meeting in 2025 to review the implementation of national commitments to the Water Action Agenda.