Highlights and images for 5 December 2022

Paris, France

“Bridging the financing gap is not merely about more money,” boomed one participant during the wrap-up session of the “World Café” small-group discussions, which had taken up the better part of the first day of the 37th UN-Water meeting. In denoting that money was available but often not used, he described steps to get financing for Sustainable Development Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation for all) back on track.

The dais during the morning plenary

The dais during the morning plenary: (L-R) Federico Properzi, UN-Water; UN-Water Vice-Chair Johannes Cullmann; Abou Amani, UNESCO; Madhushree Chatterjee, UN-Water; Joakim Harlin, UN Environment Programme; and consultants Kelly Ann Naylor and Josh Newton.


Participants had started the morning by thrashing out ideas on the process and options for the upcoming SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2023. They made several suggestions and will provide additional input in the coming months.

The World Café format then saw the group split into five, addressing the themes for the UN 2023 Water Conference, to be held in New York, US, in March 2023. These themes are: Water for Health; Water for Sustainable Development; Water for Climate, Resilience and Environment; Water for Cooperation; and the Water Action Decade. Online input was also garnered through a video link with delegates participating virtually.

The conversations revolved around defining key messages for each of the following “accelerators”: governance, financing, data and information, capacity development, and innovation. Much energy was also spent trying to boil down the questions to bring forward to the UN 2023 Water Conference. As one delegate put it, the messaging has to be innovative and avoid repeating what has been said for the past decades – “moving beyond past paradigms and looking forwards.”

Many commended the World Café for pulling out numerous valuable ideas, and rapporteurs often found it difficult to stick to brief summary interventions. In his concluding remarks for the first day of the meeting, UN-Water Vice-Chair Johannes Cullmann exclaimed: “If we keep this spirit, we can do great things!”

Discussions continued in an informal setting during an evening reception hosted by UNESCO.

Small-group discussions on the theme “water for sustainable development.”

Small-group discussions on the theme “water for sustainable development.”

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