Acceleration of actions towards achieving SDG 6 and the water-related goals and targets discussed during the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York
April 7, 2023
On 22-24 March the UN 2023 Water Conference was held in New York, the United States of America, co-hosted by the Governments of Tajikistan and the Netherlands. The high-level delegation of Tajikistan, led by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon, included representatives of line ministries and agencies who took an active part in relevant events and contributed to the work of dedicated high-level conferences, parties' meetings and special events.
Throughout the Conference UNDP was widely recognized as a strong partner for action on water at the local, national and transboundary levels, both by member states and member organizations.
UNDP’s small but active delegation made sure the organization’s brand was recognized in the context of support to member states across the UN system. The UNDP portfolio on water, and impressive results were showcased throughout the four days, and UNDP’s thought leadership towards finding solutions to common water challenges, and UNDP’s approach to building strong partnership with fellow UN Organizations, was acutely felt.
Of particular interest to UNDP were the strong connections drawn between adequate water provision and the supply of energy to remote areas; a strong emphasis on bringing in the voices of youth and women; the demand from member states for increased pan-UN coordination on water issues; strong agreement from Member States on the importance of continued momentum on water action moving towards COP28 and an overarching interest on easing emerging economies’ access to affordable capital and capacity to manage risk in support of SDG6 and other water-related SDG targets.
One of the flagship events hosted at the Conference became the side event "Roadmap for 2025: International Year of Glacier Protection", which was held on March 22 and brought together the leaders of Tajikistan and Bolivia, highest representatives of international organizations including the United Nations, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNESCO to discuss joint efforts towards making this initiative successful and effective. Along with that, the event marked the first step towards the implementation of the new United Nations Resolution declaring 2025 as the International Year for Glaciers' Preservation.
The Water Conference also served as a platform for other important water and climate related meetings and side events. With the support of UNDP in Tajikistan and other development partners, the delegation of the Committee of Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan attended and contributed to a number of dedicated events, particularly on the "Global Network of Water Analysis Laboratories", "Third Interactive Dialogue on Climate Change", "Responding to the UN Secretary-General's call to action: Implementing early warning systems for everyone in the world as water-related risks increase", "From desert to forest: a multifaceted approach to the recovery of the Aral Sea", "Strengthening cooperation in the field of migration , climate change and the water nexus” and “Taking action for sustainable lake management – as a catalyst to accelerate global commitments”.
The Final Dialogue of the UN 2023 Water Conference concluded with the following action points:
- Consensus on need for UNSG to appoint a UN Water Envoy.
- UN Water Envoy to form a task force to implement proposals from all of the Conference’s interactive dialogues.
- Build multi-stakeholder coalitions on local solutions, innovations that have widespread applicability; and reduce the cost of new technologies.
- Support the broader evolution of multilateral financial institutions, critical to the mobilization of capital for water action.
- Consolidate and share water data – develop a mechanism in the UN system to collect, analyze and share these.
- Set a date for the next UN Water Conference, with 2026 mentioned by many.
- UNSG invited to plan on action not just for SDG6, but for all SDGs: water has to be central to the SDG Summit and how we build more effective multilateralism through the Summit for the Future.