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5 April 2023: U.N. Water Conference 2023

Context:

The United Nations 2023 Water Conference recently took place in New York.

About

  • After a 46-year hiatus, the conference was finally convened. It took place at the same time as the evaluation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation’s implementation (2018–2028).
  • The review was necessary because it became clear that we are not on pace to achieve SDG No. 6 for water, which is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” which is set for 2030.
    “Our watershed moment: uniting the world for water” was the subject.
  • In 1977, the first international water meeting took place in Mar del Plata, Argentina. It led to the creation of the first international “Action Plan” that declared “all peoples have the right to have access to drinking water in quantities and of a quality equal to their basic needs.”

Actions taken during the conference:

  • 700 voluntarily made pledges will make up the Water Action Agenda.
  • Infrastructure for climate-resilient water and sanitation has been revealed by the USA, which has pledged up to $49 billion in investments to support such services.
  • Quality Infrastructure: Japan said that it will give 500 billion yen to help the Asia-Pacific region build quality infrastructure to solve social problems related to water.
  • Vietnam promised to make plans for how to run the main river basins by 2025 and how to get clean water to everyone by 2030.
  • The Continental Africa Investment Programme (AIP) and the African Union Commission are working to get at least $30 billion a year by 2030 to invest in water on the continent. This will help close the investment gap on the continent.
  • By 2030, the European Union (EU) wants to provide a better drinking water source and sanitary facilities for 70 million people.
  • Switzerland provided five promises in the categories of the Water Convention and Transboundary Cooperation.

Challenges:

  • Since the problems today are more complicated than they were fifty years ago, the commitments are of a non-binding nature.
  • Because water problems and their solutions often only affect a small area, the water sector is especially at risk of being broken up. When compared to mobilizations in other areas, these global ones are less successful.
  • Infrastructure spending no longer directly correlates to sustained access to water and sanitation, given the current water problems we confront.
  • The meeting didn’t do enough to address the violence and threats that communities face when they try to protect their water sources.
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