“Global Water Goal far from being a Done Deal”

Posted: 2014-02-21

GWP Executive Secretary Dr. Ania Grobicki moderated a debate on water and sanitation at the UN General Assembly in New York on 18 February 2014. After the debate was over, Dr. Grobicki said that a global water goal is far from being a done deal.

“There are still many voices, many country representatives who are arguing that water should be included only through sub targets under goals on food, energy, cities, ecosystems, et cetera,” said Dr. Grobicki. “Yet this risks that water will be overlooked and overexploited by sectoral interests, in other words business as usual. The dynamic has to change. This is why a global water goal is essential to underpin real sustainability”.

The two day long thematic debate of the General Assembly was called “Water, Sanitation and Sustainable Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”. It was the first in a series of six thematic debates that General Assembly President John Ashe will host this year to provide an interactive platform for Member States and other stakeholders to discuss the post-2015 development agenda.

Speaking at the opening segment of the debate, Mr. Ashe declared that “the water, sanitation and sustainable energy crises ARE the pre-eminent development challenges of our world.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, also speaking at the opening segment, stressed that access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene must feature prominently in the post-2015 development agenda: “We must improve water quality and the management of water resources and wastewater. This is a matter of justice and opportunity,” said Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

The report of the debate highlighted a need for two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on water and energy, together with cross cutting nexus targets linking the two. 

Dr. Ania Grobicki, photo by Bill Bly/UNDr. Grobicki stated in her summing up: "Water does not yet have a global institutional architecture which can tackle the multiple challenges and move towards sustainability. A global water goal would provide a framework within which the challenges of drinking water supply, sanitation and hygiene, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse, water resources development and management, and flood and drought resilience can all be dealt with in an integrated way, with improved governance for sustainability and equity. This is our hope for a dedicated water goal."

Photos by Bill Bly/ Office of the President 68th Session of the UNGA


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