Participants at the 32nd UN-Water Meeting moved through a packed agenda focused on issues related to the UN-Water programme of work for the coming biennium and the UN-Water 2030 Strategy, ways to accelerate progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (clean water and sanitation) implementation, and ways to elevate and address water and sanitation challenges at the country and regional level in light of the UN reform process, among other issues.
In addition to discussing the work programme for the next two years and the strategy to 2030, participants discussed input to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which will extend to 2050. Activities discussed during this meeting, which took place in Rome, Italy, from 28-29 January 2020, included the roadmap for upcoming high-level UN meetings that will take place in 2021 and 2023. Opportunities to use a variety of forums, summits and other meetings taking place in the lead up to these events were highlighted as points during which the conversation and inputs could be shaped into a cohesive and comprehensive strategy to address important SDG 6 issues. UN-Water’s Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 and efforts to update monitoring and reporting in the lead up to these high-level meetings were also noted.
Many speakers highlighted that the UN Secretary-General has called for a Decade of Action on SDG implementation and acknowledged the urgency to accelerate progress. In this light, the proposal to launch an SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, which will include a commitment platform for the acceleration of the Decade of Action, strengthened cross-sectoral approaches using the six entry points for transformative action identified in the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019, and better coordination and delivery at the country and regional levels, was highlighted as a key initiative to help advance efforts to achieve clean water and sanitation for all. The launch of the CEO Water Mandate’s Water Resilience Pledge/Coalition was also the focus of attention as it seeks to actively involve the private sector for effective delivery of SDG 6 objectives.
At the end of the second day of the two-day meeting, a speaker noted that “we are participating in a global change process.” Many participants during the two-day meeting noted the challenges and opportunities that the agenda items represented, as well as the gravity and responsibility for participants to seize the chance to spur action by raising awareness and facilitating change.
UN-Water Meetings bring Members and Partners together twice a year to carry out the mandate of informing policies, monitoring and reporting, and inspiring action on water and sanitation issues. Over 60 delegates from UN-Water Members and Partners registered for the 32nd UN-Water Meeting, representing the UN Secretariat and UN agencies, funds, programmes and other entities, multilateral environmental agreements, and civil society organizations. An additional 24 observers from governments and other organizations also attended. The 33rd UN-Water meeting will convene in August 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden.