The 36th UN-Water Meeting, which is taking place in a hybrid format, opened on 7 April 2022. UN-Water Chair Gilbert Houngbo thanked the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for hosting the meeting at its headquarters and highlighted that the UN 2023 Water Conference, which will take place in March 2023, would be the focus of the meeting.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of WMO, reviewed ways in which water is a key component of the climate system and ways in which WMO reforms have incorporated attention to water systems. He recalled that the UN Secretary-General has announced an initiative to ensure that every person on earth is protected by an early warning system within five years.
Participants discussed challenges and opportunities related to the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, collaboration with the African Ministers’ Council on Water, Country Acceleration Case Studies, the SDG 6 Capacity Development Initiative, and the Roadmap on human rights to water and sanitation, among other agenda items.
During an interactive session on Climate Change and Water, UN-Water Members, Partners and Observers discussed opportunities to increase the discussion of water issues during meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In addition to a Water Pavilion during COP 27, participants discussed the need to promote the discussion of linkages between water and the issues to be discussed in other COP 27 Pavilions as well as in the negotiations and discussions on climate financing mechanisms. Linkages with drought and adaptation were highlighted, as well as the contribution of water to mitigation.
During an information session on the UN 2023 Water Conference, participants at the UN-Water meeting were joined by representatives from Geneva-based missions for a briefing by the Co-Chairs of the Conference (representing the Netherlands and Tajikistan). Speakers highlighted that the meeting offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to mobilize actors and generate action and partnerships beyond the close of the Conference on 24 March 2023. The Co-Chairs emphasized that the Conference should be inclusive, action-oriented, and cross-sectoral, and said it would involve six plenaries, five dialogues, special events, side events, and cultural elements. They said the Conference will conclude with a set of voluntary commitments – a Global Water Pact – and a roadmap towards the end of the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development (in 2028) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, in 2030).
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