“The poorest and most vulnerable cannot wait any longer for water and sanitation to transform their lives,” pointed out Gilbert Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water, on the second and final day of the 37th UN-Water meeting.
Delegates squeezed into the room, inspired by Monday’s efforts to put Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (clean water and sanitation for all) back on track. They delved straight back into preparations for the UN 2023 Water Conference with the two special envoys from the host countries, the Netherlands and Tajikistan, providing an inspiring overview of the window of opportunity to turn the tables on the current situation facing water and sanitation around the globe.
Delegates heard a rousing keynote speech from Cate Lamb of CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) on operationalizing the Water Action Agenda. She suggested harnessing the trillions of dollars spent by investment banks, as wise investments can be the key to change. Noting options for market-based incentives, Lamb felt that “once those institutions wake up, they are compelled to act,” and this is already happening. Stressing that transformative change cannot be brought about by individual stakeholders, she said “this calls for radical cooperation.”
The meeting also addressed the SDG 6 Capacity Development Initiative and Global Campaigns, and heard progress updates on global monitoring and selected reports.
Delegates agreed that the 38th UN-Water meeting will take place on 18-19 August 2023 in Stockholm, Sweden, with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) as the host institution.
A catalyst for action both in the lead-up to the UN 2023 Water Conference, and more broadly to the 2030 SDG milestone, the meeting came to a close at 3:30 pm. As one delegate put it, “Whether it is a race or a battle, we really need to focus on how to do things differently, between now and 2030.”