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UN-Water Bulletin

Volume 82 Number 33 | Tuesday, 28 August 2018

29th UN-Water Meeting

24-25 August 2018 | Stockholm, Sweden

Languages: EN (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from Stockholm, Sweden at: http://enb.iisd.org/water/un/29/

The 29th UN-Water Meeting convened from 24-25 August 2018, in Stockholm, Sweden, immediately prior to the annual meeting of World Water Week. Approximately fifty delegates of UN-Water Members and Partners registered for the event, representing the UN Secretariat and UN agencies, funds, programmes and other entities, multilateral environmental agreement secretariats, and civil society organizations. An additional twenty observers from governments and other organizations attended.

During the meeting, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was welcomed as the newest UN-Water Member, and applications from CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) and Sanitation and Water for All were approved as the newest Partner and Partner with special status, respectively.

Agenda items included updates on the outcome of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the recommendations from the High Level Panel on Water, and the “Global call to action for WASH in healthcare facilities” and “WASH4Work” initiatives. Ongoing monitoring initiatives were discussed, and a panel discussed their experiences with promoting water and sanitation issues within their own organizations.  

In preparation for the in-depth review of implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (clean water and sanitation) during the July 2018 meeting of the HLPF, UN-Water Members had coordinated their efforts to establish a baseline for the SDG 6 indicators in the SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018, and the 29th UN-Water meeting discussed follow-up efforts related to this Report. Participants highlighted that the discussion at the HLPF revealed a high level of interest within the international community for addressing challenges related to SDG 6 implementation and also that the limited time allotted to discussing SDG 6 during the HLPF was not adequate to fully explore and move SDG 6 implementation forward. In this regard, discussions at the 29th UN-Water meeting focused on the recommendation by the High Level Panel on Water to convene high-level meetings on water and sanitation issues. Participants also discussed plans for upcoming events, including the themes for future celebrations of World Water Day and World Toilet Day. An important challenge that was raised in many of these discussions was how to ensure proper follow-up on high-level recommendations and awareness raising efforts, to translate the messages for change in water and sanitation policy and practices into actions at country-level. 

Brief History of UN-Water

Over 30 United Nations organizations carry out water and sanitation programmes, but no single UN entity is dedicated exclusively to these issues. The UN’s Intersecretariat Group for Water Resources began coordinating UN activities on water in 1977. Subsequently, in 2003, the UN Administrative Coordination Committee’s (ACC) Sub-committee on Water Resources transformed into UN-Water and was endorsed by the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. UN-Water plays a coordinating role within the UN, to ensure that the UN family “delivers as one” in response to water-related challenges.

Initiatives: The overarching focus of UN-Water’s Members and Partners is to support UN Member States to sustainably manage water and sanitation. This mission is carried out through three areas of work.

Efforts to inform policies focus on placing water and sanitation issues on the agenda of key UN agreements, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. SDG 6 calls for the international community to strive to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Efforts to monitor and report seek to provide coherent and reliable data and information on key water trends and management issues. The Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 builds on and expands the experience and lessons learned during the Millennium Development Goal period and aims to: develop methodologies and tools to monitor SDG 6 global indicators; raise awareness at national and global levels about SDG 6 monitoring; enhance technical and institutional country capacity for monitoring; and compile country data and report on global progress towards SDG 6.

Efforts to inspire action include coordination of the annual observance of World Water Day, on 22 March, and World Toilet Day, on 19 November. UN-Water releases the World Water Development Report on World Water Day annually.

Governance Structure: UN agencies, programmes and funds with a water-related mandate are Members of UN-Water. Partners are international organizations, professional unions, associations or other civil-society groups that are actively involved in water and that have the capacity and willingness to contribute to the work of UN-Water.

UN-Water Senior Programme Managers (SPMs) are the representatives of UN-Water Members. They provide the overall governance and strategic direction and constitute the highest operational decision-making body of UN-Water.

The Chair of UN-Water is nominated among the UN Executive Heads after consultations in the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. The Vice-Chair of UN-Water is elected among the UN-Water Senior Programme Managers. The Secretary of UN-Water is a senior staff member of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in New York and serves in a personal capacity and not in representation of UN DESA.

Report from UN-Water Meeting

The 29th UN-Water Meeting opened on Friday morning, 24 August 2018. Friday morning and Saturday afternoon were devoted to discussions among UN-Water Members and Partners with Special Status. The UN-Water Members and Partners with Special Status were joined on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, 25 August, by UN-Water Partners. This report focuses on the deliberations during the open sessions with UN-Water Partners.

On Friday afternoon, UN-Water Chair Gilbert Houngbo welcomed UN-Water Members and Partners to the open session of the 29th meeting of UN-Water and highlighted the engagement of the water and sanitation policy community in the July 2018 session of the HLPF, including through the presentation of the SDG 6 Synthesis Report. He noted that many had lamented that the HLPF’s current four-year agenda only allocates three hours for a focused discussion on SDG 6, and in this regard called attention to the agenda item on the recommendation from the High-Level Panel on Water to convene high-level meetings on water and sanitation.

Selected Reports and Progress Updates

Update on the HLPF: UN-Water Vice-Chair Joakim Harlin reviewed the consideration of SDG 6 during the 9-18 July 2018 session of the HLPF. He noted that the SDG 6 Synthesis Report was presented as an input to the thematic discussion of the Goal and highlighted that there was a strong interest in allowing more time for a richer discussion on the topic and sharing information on what is working well and what has worked less well. He reported that, during a well-attended side event on the Synthesis Report, participants conveyed a sense that we are going in the right direction and supported pursuing integrated approaches. Harlin suggested thinking about how to structure further discussions in order to maintain the momentum from the preparations for and discussions at HLPF. 

During the discussion, participants asked what messages could trigger further action. One speaker highlighted that other Goal communities were not represented on the panels during each thematic Goal discussion and suggested that the HLPF should provide more time for the discussion of interlinkages. Another highlighted that there was no review of how the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) had, or had not, incorporated the SDGs under review, noting that only five of the 46 countries presenting VNRs had reported on their water activities.

Vice-Chair Harlin noted that regional pre-HLPF meetings and other events had provided an opportunity for further discussions. Carol Chouchani Cherfane, Chief, Water Resources Section, Sustainable Development, UN-ESCWA, recalled that each of the regional commissions, during their pre-HLPF meetings, provided time for a discussion among countries presenting their VNRs, and ESCWA also held a preparatory meeting on water issues prior to its regional meeting. She reported that a preparatory meeting will discuss climate issues, which is one of the SDGs for thematic review on the HLPF 2019 agenda, prior to its next Arab regional meeting.

Update on the UN Reform Process: Nicolas Franke, Special Assistant to the UN-Water Secretary, provided UN-Water members and partners with an update on the UN reform process. He highlighted that there are three major reform tracks: UN management; UN development system; and peace and security.

At the end of May 2018, following the presentation of the UN Secretary-General’s reform proposals to Member States, Franke reported that the 193 UN Member States adopted a resolution mandating the Secretary-General and the UN system to move forward with the reform process. In particular, he noted that they approved measures to reinvigorate the Resident Coordinator system, endorsed the proposed approach for a new generation of UN country teams (UNCTs), and agreed to revamp the regional approach. He also indicated that they welcomed the proposal for a funding compact, which would seek to bring better quality, quantity and predictability of resources.

Franke noted that the next steps include efforts by the Secretary-General to engage all countries, UN entities and other partners in transitioning to a renewed UN development system, starting in January 2019. He noted that the Secretary-General will present an implementation plan to the General Assembly on reinvigorating the Resident Coordinator system by mid-September 2018, and will provide a progress report to ECOSOC in early 2019, including an updated system wide strategic document that is specific, concrete and targeted in addressing gaps and overlaps.

During the discussion, the need for funding to ensure that the reform measures can be implemented was highlighted. The strong support from Member States for reform was also emphasized.

Outcome on High-Level Panel on Water: Making Every Drop Count: Joel Kolker, World Bank, presented the work of the High-Level Panel on Water, noting that it concluded in February and released its outcome package in March 2018. He said the outcome includes calls for action such as for a better understanding of water through attention to data access, quality, quantity, and risk. He highlighted that the World Water Data Initiative was launched in response to this need

Franke highlighted the Panel’s recommendations to consider establishing a scientific panel on water and to organize high-level meetings on water and noted the challenge presented by the current fragmentation of water issues within the UN system.

The discussion on this report included questions about who would implement the Panel’s recommendations, and whether UN-Water could track how agencies are responding to them. The Chair noted that participants at the UN-Water meeting would discuss the recommendation to organize high-level meetings on water during the second day.

The SPMs acknowledged the UN-Water Members’ and Partners’ work already underway to support the High Level Panel on Water recommendations, including the implementation of the Water Action Decade, the World Water Data Initiative, and strengthening global water cooperation.

Update on the High-Level International Conference on International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018 – 2028 and the Water Action Decade Campaign: Vladimir Smakhtin, Director, UNU-INWEH, reviewed recent activities of the task force to support the implementation of the International Water Action Decade. He highlighted that Members and Partners can include their activities to the website for the Decade. He said the task force had coordinated initiatives including participating in the High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action (Dushanbe), the HLPF, and the inaugural Annual Science Meeting of the Global Water Futures programme (Canada), and the organization of a special session on the Decade at Stockholm World Water Week.

Lukmon Isomatov, Tajikistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reported on the proceedings of the High-Level International Conference on the Decade, which met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, from 20-21 June 2018. He noted that the meeting initiated the Decade for Action, and that Tajikistan will host this meeting on a biennial basis during the international decade – to be referred to as the “Dushanbe process” – to monitor implementation of commitments taken during the meeting. He said the call for partnership and action document from the meeting will be available in September and announced that a water decade center will be established in Dushanbe.

Global Call to Action for WASH in Healthcare Facilities: Kate Medlicott, WHO, provided an overview of a joint WHO/UNICEF global action plan on improving WASH in healthcare facilities (HCF), noting that approximately 40% of HCF lack water supplies, 20% are without sanitation, and 35% do not have hand hygiene materials. Medlicott said the initiative’s vision is for every HCF to have the necessary WASH services and practices in order to provide essential, quality health services for everyone, everywhere. She noted that global harmonized indicators have been developed to enable comparable country data for target setting and measurement.

Medlicott also highlighted the Water and Sanitation for Health Facility Tool (WASH FIT) to support implementation of WHO standards. She said WHO and UNICEF are serving as the Secretariat for the initiative and are working with an advisory group and UN-Water.

During the discussion, participants highlighted that: healthcare workers have a critical role in ensuring proper WASH procedures are followed; the experience with Ebola outbreaks demonstrates that workers suffer from lack of access to WASH; water delivery is essential for WASH in HCF; and solid waste management is important to include in the initiative.

Update on WASH4Work: Jason Morrison, UN Global Compact, described the initiative Wash4Work, which is a consortium of organizations – including UN agencies, civil society, NGOs and the private sector – working to improve access to WASH in the workplace, in communities, and across supply chains. Morrison highlighted that major streams of the initiative include strengthening the business case for taking action on WASH, providing a consolidated WASH standard, and increasing company and government engagement. He also noted that a business case guide for WASH would be launched during World Water Week, quantifying the benefits of business interventions on WASH and further building the business case for company action as the return on investment in WASH is not well documented. Morrison also highlighted a report led by Water Aid with the Overseas Development Institute and Price Waterhouse Coopers that provides step-by-step guidance on quantifying the value added by investing in WASH and reporting on progress, and the WASH@Work toolkit with training on occupational safety and health, which was developed by the International Labour Organization.

Panel Discussion: Internal Advocacy – Promoting Water and Sanitation in Your Own Organisation

Olcay Ünver, Deputy Director, Land and Water Division (FAO), introduced the panelists and invited their responses to the topic of promoting water and sanitation in your own organization.

Carol Chouchani Cherfane, UN-ESCWA, noted the heavy focus of discussions on technical aspects of water management, but that there are many political dimensions that need to be addressed. She said that making linkages to other issues is the best way to keep water firmly on the agenda, including water in the context of: climate change, conflict, water security, gender; and the New Urban Agenda. She noted the importance of linking water to intergovernmental ministerial processes, including the development of inter-agency mechanisms.

Aaron Salzberg, Chief, Water Division, US Department of State, highlighted ways to generate political will to address water and sanitation issues, including: defining the problem and being specific about the issue and its different dimensions, in a political way that resonates with politicians, and an operational way that technical people can look at and solve; articulate how the problem impacts national interests, linking to impacts on health, economic growth, and security; analyzing how to solve the problem; and asking who is best to solve the problem and can deploy assets.

Mark Smith, Deputy Director General, IWMI, reflected on his experience at IUCN and IWMI, noting the need to find hooks between water resource management and conservation and development objectives. He noted that freshwater ecosystems are among the most threatened in the world and crucial for agriculture, and said more stakeholders need to be engaged in dialogue. He offered four recommendations for advocacy on water and sanitation: funding for independence and to deliver results that could feed into gaining core funding; putting water forward in reporting and evaluation; having allies on councils and boards that understand the issues; and constant investment in interim communications.

Amanda Marlin, Senior Adviser, WASH, UNICEF, emphasized that drinking water and sanitation are firmly within the rights of children, but education and health are also important. She noted the importance of making leadership aware of what is being done with WASH, reaching out to colleagues in other sectors.

Highlighting the need for internal advocacy, she said that providing high level speaking roles for the new executive director at UNICEF at World Water Day and other events provided an opportunity for briefings on the specifics of WASH. She also noted that having a head of a UN agency as Chair of UN-Water continues to raise the profile of the issue. She encouraged participants to think about how the UN reforms could be relevant at country level, and how to use the convening power of UN-Water most effectively.

During the discussion, participants noted cultural and other challenges in getting an organization to address sanitation issues. One speaker noted that surveys have been useful for developing inventories and collecting case studies of existing projects and data on the ground of what is happening on water issues. Several speakers noted difficulties in interesting people in UN-Water’s work, with one suggesting that partners should be tasked with contributing more and another noting that colleagues inquire about how clear the commitments and decisions are. One speaker suggested identifying complementarities between water and sanitation issues and global priority areas such as malaria and tuberculosis control, as a way to achieve progress. 

Speakers also noted that political will and budgets are ultimately decided by voters, noting the need to have a strategy for follow-up on awareness-raising efforts such as World Water Day rather than focusing on the reach of a specific campaign. Difficulties with identifying who in the UN works on water issues were also noted, and the value of a review of private sector actors working on water and sanitation was also highlighted.

Monitoring and Reporting

World Water Data Initiative: Claudio Caponi, WMO, provided an overview of the World Water Data initiative (WWDI). He described the development of a five-year WWDI roadmap for 2018-2022, which will initiate Phase II of the WWDI, with the objectives of: supporting countries in their policy development by improving access to water data by governments, civil society and the private sector; and reducing the cost and complexity of accessing and exchanging water data by promoting tailored and innovative solutions.

Participants discussed the kinds of data included, with Caponi clarifying that the WWDI is not a data inventory, but an initiative to improve access to data including water quality data. Participants also discussed, inter alia: the importance of inclusivity for the initiative and for many types of data, including social, meteorological and hydrological; how to measure the success of the initiative; and challenges regarding data sharing due to national security issues.

Integrated Monitoring Initiative: Amanda Marlin, UNICEF, provided an overview of the timeline of WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) outputs, including the SDG 6 Synthesis Report, the release of a global baseline report on WASH in Health Care Facilities in December 2018, and a progress report to be published in 2019. She noted that following the establishment of the SDGs, the JMP expanded to not only monitor household data but also health care facilities and schools, and said that a global baseline report on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools would be launched at Stockholm World Water Week 2018.

Kate Medlicott, WHO, described the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) programme, which monitors the inputs and the enabling environment required to sustain and extend WASH systems and services to all. She noted that the thematic focus of the GLAAS 2018/2019 cycle would be national WASH policies, plans and targets, and said the initiative is currently collecting data from countries and from external support agencies.

William Reidhead, UN-Water Global Monitoring Officer, presented the Integrated Monitoring Initiative. He noted that reports on each of the seven indicators under the Global Expanded Water Monitoring Initiative (GEMI) will be launched on 27 August 2018, at World Water Week. Reidhead also noted that the SDG 6 data portal will be demonstrated during World Water Week, with a Beta launch scheduled for September 2018 and full launch expected in 2019.

During the discussion, participants questioned if there is a picture of financial flows across SDG 6, whether regional profiles would be built, and what is being measured. Speakers reported that nationally defined definitions are used for indicators, and the SDG 6 data portal will include all 11 global SDG 6 generating regional reports. Participants noted the value of developing simple procedures for collecting data, to which speakers noted the value of discussions between the water and sanitation and statistics communities, as well as the need for guidelines for countries who must develop indicators with varying levels of existing data.

Update on the UN-Water SDG 6 Synthesis Report and on the Public Dialogue: Stefan Uhlenbrook, UNESCO, described highlights of the UN-Water SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation, including the key messages of the need to integrate SDG 6 into other themes of the 2030 Agenda, and the need to understand the baseline status and trends of the global indicators for SDG 6.

Uhlenbrook noted that multiple briefings and consultations have been completed and that the report has been presented around the world, including at the July session of the HLPF and HLPF regional preparatory discussions, with the exception of Africa. In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted, inter alia, the importance of recognizing interlinkages; the challenges associated with the high level of contaminants in water that are difficult to monitor; the large number of players that can help in outreach and seek engagement locally, nationally and beyond; the amount of financing that is needed by countries; and the importance of using a bottom-up approach. Participants also emphasized that important inferences on the quality of drinking water can be made through analyses of groundwater, noted concerns about the quality of groundwater data and whether it is sufficient to make conclusions on the status of groundwater resources, and pointed to the use of disaggregated data to inform country progress and encourage them to take on monitoring.

Moving forward, participants highlighted that the Synthesis Report could be “viewed as a driver of coordination,” and suggested using it to point to other initiatives that cover different subjects including finance. Speakers also suggested providing contributions on SDG 6 to those in the UN system preparing progress reports on other SDGs and bringing messaging on other SDGs into future iterations of the Synthesis Report.

Report on the World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2018 and Update on the WWDR 2019: Stefan Uhlenbrook, UNESCO, discussed the WWDR 2018, which was released in March 2018. He noted that WWDR 2018 focuses on nature-based solutions and said this theme provided the opportunity to address contemporary water management challenges across all sectors. He highlighted that the messages from WWDR 2018 were summarized in various formats including short movies demonstrating nature-based solutions. 

Uhlenbrook reported that WWDR 2019 will focus on the theme “Leaving no one behind,” and a workshop will convene in September to kick off planning for the WWDR 2020 report, which will focus on the theme “Water and Climate Change.”

Global Campaigns

Report on the 2018 World Water Day on Nature-Based Solutions: Daniella Bostrom, UN-Water Communications Manager, presented the results of the 2018 World Water Day campaign, noting that its objectives were to engage policy makers through events in strategic locations, to inform and inspire people to share their personal connection to water and nature, and to encourage further research among academia and business. Bostrom noted that World Water Day coincided with the World Water Forum in Brazil and an event at UN Headquarters to the launch the World Water Decade, and both events were capitalized on with campaign events. She said lessons learned from the 2018 campaign included the value of channeling energy into a few strategic events and involving high-level authorities. She noted the need to find ways to measure how such campaigns are shaping the discussion and how to continue to engage actors after such media events, and invited UN-Water Members and Partners to a discussion on the latter issue during World Water Week.

Update on the Planning for 2018 World Toilet Day on Nature-Based Solutions: Dave Trouba, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, provided an update on planning for the campaign for World Toilet Day in 2018. Based on the theme “When Nature Calls,” he said the campaign is focused on nature-based sanitation solutions. He noted that the alignment with the theme of 2018 World Water Day permits the campaign to build on the experience of that event. He said Singapore is organizing an event at UN Headquarters in New York to mark World Toilet Day, and outreach is also planned for Geneva. The draft decision was approved without comment.

The SPMs approved the workplan, budget and timeline for the 2018 World Toilet Day campaign.

Update on the Planning for 2019 World Water Day: Rio Hada, OHCHR, outlined planning for 2019 World Water Day, which will focus on the theme “Leaving No One Behind.” He said OHCHR is linking the event to the anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. He said the campaign’s objectives are to: put a spotlight on people currently left behind and their rights to water and sanitation by changing attitudes, shaping culture and increasing awareness; helping policy makers understand that the lack of water and sanitation contributes to leaving people behind and that they should introduce policies and regulations that include a human rights-based framework; and help local authorities and service providers take a rights-based approach to target people currently left behind. In pursuit of these objectives, he noted efforts to: generate fact sheets and posters; organize events at Stockholm World Water Week focusing on women, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups; contribute to HLPF 2019; and outreach to partners of UN-Water, mayors and local authorities, and the private sector.

The SPMs approved the workplan, budget and timeline for the 2019 World Water Day campaign. They decided that the theme of World Toilet Day 2019 will be “Leaving no one behind’. The SPMs also extended the 2019 World Water Day Task Force’s mandate to include the planning and implementation of World Toilet Day 2019 in light of the common theme.

Brainstorm on the Themes of World Water Day 2021 and 2022: Daniella Bostrom, UN-Water, invited participants to brainstorm on the themes of World Water Day 2021 and 2022. Participants suggested: WASH in health care facilities, youth, capacity, citizens, citizen engagement, communities, governance, conflict, land, finance, and valuing water. Participants also proposed identifying themes linked to tangible targets that can lead to solutions, and revisiting themes of previous years such as leaving no one behind, nature calls, and climate change, to enable a review of progress. They remarked that information and communications technology should be considered as a theme due to its influence on society, including revolutionizing employment and the way we manage and distribute water. Participants also discussed aligning the World Water Day themes with other initiatives, including the 2021 World Water Forum in Senegal and World Wetlands Day 2021, which will address wetlands and water. Participants agreed to hold a poll to decide on the themes of World Water Day for 2021 and 2022.

The SPMs requested the UN-Water Communications Manager to reflect the ideas expressed during the 29th UN-Water meeting, solicit further ideas and conduct a poll to identify UN-Water Members’ and Partners’ preferred themes for World Water Day 2021 and 2022, for final selection at the 30th UN-Water Meeting.

Possible Scenarios for UN High-Level Meetings on Water and Sanitation

Claudio Caponi, WMO, shared the main elements outlined in the Draft Technical Advice Concept Note prepared by the Task Force on UN High-level Meetings on Water and Sanitation. Given that that the HLPF is currently the only UN forum that reviews progress, shares lessons and mobilizes action on water and sanitation issues, he noted that many UN Member States suggested during HLPF 2018 that more space and attention is needed to accelerate progress on SDG 6. He described a concept for a UN high-level conference on water and sanitation, proposed to take place in October/November 2020 at UN Headquarters in New York. He presented a calendar of meetings and processes that the high-level conference could be integrated with and provided an overview of the proposed conference timeline and setup, including a preparatory process preceding the conference that would include input from relevant global and regional meetings, processes, and initiatives.

During the ensuing discussion, participants discussed the need for the conference to go beyond a “typical UN conference,” noting, inter alia: the need to up the ante, be more bold, and instill a sense of urgency given the looming water crisis where there will be a 40% gap between freshwater need and availability; thinking creatively, such as organizing 60 events in 60 countries concurrently that link to each other; exploring alternative locations; and ensuring that line ministries and different types of participants attend the meeting.

On country engagement, participants remarked inter alia: it is often wrongly assumed that high-level commitments will trickle down to the local level, and the heavy lifting is not at the high-level meeting but in the preparation stage, and maintaining follow-up and ongoing engagement; comprehensive and midterm reviews are already happening, and the real challenge is attaining country-level commitments; and a more inclusive process is needed for working with countries on the ground in implementation. Participants recommended that the concept note should indicate how a high-level meeting could bring tangible country-level outcomes on SDG 6.

Regarding potential themes for the high-level conference, participants recommended being precise and focusing on issues around which concrete recommendations could be developed. The SDG 14 Oceans Conference was highlighted as an example for collecting commitments to action to address marine pollution from plastics.

The SPMs decided to task the UN-Water Chair to seek the good offices of the Secretary-General for the Secretary-General to call for a UN high-level conference to review SDG 6 implementation. They also called for the Task Force on UN High-Level Meetings’ concept note to be finalized bearing in mind comments received during the 29th UN-Water Meeting.

Future Events for UN-Water’s Possible Engagement

7th Africa Water Week: Federico Properzi, UN-Water Chief Technical Adviser, noted that Africa Water Week is taking place from 29 October-2 November 2018, in Libreville, Gabon, and UN-Water will participate in a side event on monitoring. A participant noted that it would be a good opportunity to present a summary of the SDG 6 Synthesis Report, since it is yet to be presented in Africa.

The SPMs approved UN-Water’s engagement in the 7th Africa Water Week.

24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24): Claudio Caponi, WMO, noted that WMO will organize a side event on water issues during COP 24, which takes place from 3-14 December 2018, in Katowice, Poland. He said the COP 24 side event will focus on the role that water has played in achieving climate neutrality, and will showcase the most recent tools, approaches and good practices in water management in relation to carbon sources and sinks, with a special focus on the interlinkages of water and carbon cycle in the biosphere.

The SPMs approved UN-Water’s engagement in COP 24.

HLPF 2019: Nicolas Franke, Special Assistant to the UN-Water Secretary, noted that the 2019 session of the HLPF will consider SDGs 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). He highlighted opportunities to link the work around World Water Day 2019 on “Leaving No One Behind” to SDG 10 and the work of the expert group on water and climate change to SDG 13.

Participants discussed additional interlinkages among UN-Water’s work and the HLPF 2019 thematic focus, and options for coordinating the efforts of Members and Partners. Speakers also noted that HLPF 2019 will take place in both July, under the auspices of ECOSOC, and in September, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. In addition, HLPF 2019 is expected to take a decision on the agendas for several HLPF sessions after it.

The SPMs decided to organize a joint activity at HLPF 2019 and to task the Technical Advisory Unit to prepare a proposal and report back at the 30th UN-Water Meeting. The proposal should emphasize linking UN-Water Members and Partners who will organize mandate-related activities for the in-depth reviews of SDG 4, SDG 8, SDG 10, SDG 13, SDG 16 and SDG 17.

Decision on Date and Venue of Next UN-Water Meeting: Chair Houngbo invited all participants to attend the next UN-Water meeting at IFAD headquarters in Rome, Italy, and the dates were approved as proposed. The 30th UN-Water Meeting will be hosted by IFAD in Rome, Italy, from 31 January to 1 February 2019.


Chair Houngbo thanked the UN-Water partners for their contributions, particularly during the efforts to reform the UN, and said he looked forward to welcoming UN-Water Members and Partners to the next meeting in Rome. He closed the meeting at 4:15 pm. 

Upcoming Meetings

World Water Week 2018: The 28th World Water Week, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and partners, will focus on the theme, ‘Water, Ecosystems and Human Development’.  dates: 26-31 August 2018  location: Stockholm, Sweden  www: http://www.worldwaterweek.org

Korea International Water Week 2018: KIWW 2018 will focus on the theme, ‘Water Partnership for Sustainable Development.’ Organized by the Korea Water Forum and hosted by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea, with local partners, the event will include sessions on global leadership for the SDGs, implementation of solutions, economic and social value creation, and knowledge sharing and capacity building.  dates: 12-15 September 2018  location: Daegu, Daegu-Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea  www: https://www.kiww.org/fairDash.do?hl=ENG

Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention: The Meeting of the Parties is the main governing body of the Convention, and it reviews the implementation of the Convention and takes the necessary measures required to achieve the purposes of the Convention.  dates: 10-12 October 2018  location: Astana, Kazakhstan  www: https://www.unece.org/env/water/meetings/convention_meeting.html

13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13): Contracting Parties will assess progress in the implementation of the Convention and the wise use of wetlands and plan their own work and that of the Secretariat for the next triennium. The theme for COP13 is “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future”.  dates: 21-29 October 2018  location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates  contact: Ramsar Convention Secretariat  email: info@ramsar.org  www: https://www.ramsar.org/event/13th-meeting-of-the-conference-of-the-parties

7th Africa Water Week: The seventh edition of the Africa Water Week (AWW-7) is dedicated to the theme, ‘Toward Achieving Water Security and Safely Managed Sanitation for Africa’. Convened by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Government of Gabon, and held biennially, AWW seeks to build momentum on achieving the SDGs related to water security and sanitation by 2030 and the 2025 Africa Water Vision, and actualizing Africa’s Agenda 2063.  dates: 29 October - 2 November 2018  location: Libreville, Estuaire, Gabon  www: https://africawaterweek.com/aww7/

Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW) Summit 2018: This event will set the agenda for AIWW 2019, build on the Amsterdam Agreements and other outcomes of the previous meeting, and enhance global partnerships.  dates: 14-16 November 2018  location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands  www: http://internationalwaterweek.com/aiww-summit-2018/

World Toilet Day 2018: World Toilet Day aims to encourage behavioral change and the implementation of policies to increase access to sanitation among the poor and a call to end open-air defecation. The 2018 theme is: ‘When nature calls’.  date: 19 November 2018  contact: UN-Water  www: http://www.un.org/en/events/toiletday/

2018 UN Biodiversity Conference: The 14th meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the 9th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (CBD COP 14, Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 9, and Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 3) will address a series of issues related to implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.  dates: 7-22 November 2018  location: Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  e-mail: secretariat@cbd.int  www: https://www.cbd.int/cop/

Katowice Climate Change Conference: This meeting will include the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, along with meetings of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), and the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA).  dates: 3-14 December 2018  location: Katowice, Poland  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: (49-228) 815-1000  fax: (49-228) 815-1999  e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int  www: http://cop24.gov.pl

30th UN-Water Meeting: This meeting will gather UN-Water Members and Partners to discuss issues related to UN-Water.   dates: 31 January-1 February 2019  location: Rome, Italy  www: http://www.unwater.org


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