The UN 2023 Water Conference, which took place from 22-24 March at the United Nations in New York City, has generated more than 700 commitments aimed at driving transformation towards a water-secure world.
Around 10,000 participants gathered at UN Headquarters and online for three days of discussions to urgently scale up action to address the water and sanitation crisis and ensure equitable access to water and sanitation for all.
The event was co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Tajikistan, with the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) as Secretariat. The Conference brought together world leaders, civil society, business leaders, young people, scientists, academics, the UN System and others from across many sectors around a common goal: to get the world on track to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6 (water and sanitation for all by 2030) and, by doing so, accelerate progress across all SDGs.
At the closing ceremony, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that, “The commitments at this Conference will propel humanity towards the water-secure future every person on the planet needs”.
To achieve this, the Secretary-General highlighted key game-changers: from reinforcing water’s place as a fundamental human right and reducing the pressures on the hydrological system, to developing new, alternative food systems to reduce the unsustainable use of water in food production and agriculture and designing and implementing a new global water information system to guide plans and priorities by 2030.
Commitments generated at the Conference are now part of the Water Action Agenda. The Agenda represents the global community’s resolve to address the water challenges through a more coordinated and results-driven approach. A number of other follow-up steps are also under consideration – including the appointment of a Special Envoy on Water.
“At the 2023 UN Water Conference a determined global community came together to make a difference not only for the future of water but for the future of the world,” said Mr. Li Junhua, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Conference Secretary-General.
“I hope that the energy we experienced at this Conference will flow on to the SDG Summit in September when the world gathers together to advance the transformative actions that we need, to realize all SDGs, and secure a sustainable future for everyone, everywhere, on a healthy planet.”