12 World Leaders Issue Clarion Call for Accelerated Action on Water

SDGs – New Agenda for Water Action

12 World Leaders Issue Clarion Call for Accelerated Action on Water
A Fundamental Shift is Needed to Avert Devastating Consequences, Says High Level Panel on Water
New York, 14 March, 2018 ― A High Level Panel on Water consisting of 11 Heads of State and a Special Advisor has issued a New Agenda for Water Action calling for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG6, can be achieved. This follows a 2-year mandate to find ways to accelerate solutions to the urgent water crisis.

“Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action” presents many recommendations as part of an Outcome Report from the Panel, which was convened in January 2016 by the United Nations Secretary-General and the World Bank Group President.

“World leaders now recognize that we face a global water crisis and that we need to reassess how we value and manage water,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “The panel’s recommendations can help to safeguard water resources and make access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation a reality for all.”

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Outcome Report “Make Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action”
High Level Panel on Water
14 March 2018 :: 34 pages
In April 2016 the United Nations Secretary-General and President of the World Bank Group convened a High Level Panel on Water (HLPW), consisting of 11 sitting Heads of State and Government and one Special Adviser, to provide the leadership required to champion a comprehensive, inclusive and collaborative way of developing and managing water resources, and improving water and sanitation related services.

The core focus of the Panel was the commitment to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, as well as to contribute to the achievement of the other SDGs that rely on the development and management of water resources. (Background note)

On 14 March 2018 the HLPW mandate ended with the release of their outcome package consisting of an open letter to fellow leaders, an outcome document, short summaries of key initiatives undertaken by the Panel and a “galvanizing” video.

Executive Summary
Pressure on water is rising, and action is urgent. Gaps in access to water supply and sanitation,
growing populations, more water-intensive patterns of growth, increasing rainfall variability, and pollution are combining in many places to make water one of the greatest risks to economic progress, poverty eradication and sustainable development. Floods and droughts already impose huge social and economic costs around the world, and climate variability will make water extremes worse. More troubling, if the world continues its current path, projections suggest that we may face a 40% shortfall in water availability by 2030. The consequences of such stress are local, national, transboundary, regional, and global in today’s interconnected and rapidly changing world, with consequences that will be disproportionately felt by the poorest and most vulnerable. Addressing these issues poses one of the greatest challenges facing the world.

Many of these challenges are captured in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). SDG6,
the ‘Water SDG’, calls for progress around water supply, sanitation, water quality, water efficiency and scarcity, integrated water resources management, water and the environment, increased international cooperation, and involvement of communities in the management of water and sanitation. Water is the common currency which links nearly every SDG, and it will be a critical determinant of success in achieving most other SDGs – on energy, cities, health, the environment, disaster risk management, food security, poverty, and climate change among others.

The HLPW’s key message is that the world can no longer take water for granted. Individuals,
communities, companies, cities, and countries need to better understand, value, and manage water. The HLPW articulates an agenda at three levels:
:: A foundation for action. To take effective action we need to understand the importance of the water we have, and therefore must invest in data; we need to value the water we have, in its social, cultural, economic and environmental dimensions; and we need to strengthen water governance mechanisms so that we can effectively manage it.
:: Leading an integrated agenda at the local, country and regional levels. Water flows across political and sectoral boundaries. The Panel therefore calls for an integrated approach, including sustainable and universal access to safe water and sanitation, building more resilient societies and economies, including disaster risk reduction, investing more and more effectively in water-related infrastructure, appreciating the centrality of environmental issues, and building sustainable cities and human settlements.
:: Catalyzing change, building partnerships & international cooperation at the global level. The Panel recommends progress in encouraging innovation, promoting partnerships, increasing finance, increasing institutional support, strengthening the global and international water cooperation, and seizing the opportunity to take action with the Water Action Decade before us.

The HLPW, as political leaders, commit to leading change in these areas, and have identified specific recommendations and new initiatives for action, which are summarized in the following
table and the report. The Panel calls on leaders and all stakeholders to join together in pursuit of safe water for all, managed sustainably.