Water is a dealmaker for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and for the health and prosperity of people and the planet. But our progress on water-related goals and targets remains alarmingly off track, jeopardizing the entire sustainable development agenda.
The UN 2023 Water Conference in March must result in a bold Water Action Agenda that gives our world’s lifeblood the commitment it deserves.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
The UN 2023 Water Conference – formally known as the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028) – will take place at UN Headquarters in New York, 22-24 March 2023, co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
The conference will include an opening and closing session, six plenary sessions, and five interactive dialogues, as well as side events organized by participants. It will result in a summary of proceedings from the UNGA President that will feed into the 2023 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
Billions of people worldwide still live without safely managed drinking water and sanitation, even though access to both services has long been defined as a human right. Water and poverty are closely linked. Without water, there is no development, and without development, it is impossible to eradicate poverty.
The UN 2023 Water Conference is expected to adopt the Water Action Agenda as a main outcome representing voluntary commitments of countries and stakeholders to meet global water-related goals and targets. The Conference will open on 22 March, World Water Day 2023.
UNEP is engaging with a number of high-level water commitments, or “game changers,” set to be announced in March including transboundary water cooperation, for creating a new platform to consolidate water-related data and information, for advancing sustainable lake management and valuing lakes and other wetlands as nature-based solutions for climate, and for advancing source-to-sea management.
UNEP is co-leading on Interactive Dialogue 3: “Water for Climate, Resilience, and Environment: Source to Sea, Biodiversity, Climate, Resilience, and Disaster Risk Reduction”, where a strong recommendation is being made to raise the value of wetlands as nature-based solutions, and hosting a side event at the conference to highlight the role of lakes, and their conservation and protection, as a key nature-based solution.
UNEP will be launching its report Measuring Progress: Water-related ecosystems and the SDGs shortly before the conference.
The vision statement of the Water Conference calls, among others, for the identification of opportunities and innovative ways and means to accelerate progress on integrated water resources management.
Regarding registration for the UN Secretariat, Funds, Programmes, Regional Commissions, Specialized Agencies, and other entities, please find more information on the UN 2023 Water Conference website here. Registration is currently open.
What is SDG6?
Access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene is the most basic human need for health and well-being. Water is essential for human health and well-being, energy, and food production, healthy ecosystems, climate adaptation, poverty reduction, and more.
But decades of poor management, misuse, over-extraction of groundwater, and contamination of freshwater supplies have intensified water stress and degraded water-related ecosystems. Urgent action is needed to ensure a sustainable and equitable distribution of water for all needs. Learn more about SDG 6 targets and goals here.