Sustainable Water Management - a Pivotal Role in the 2030 Development Agenda

Posted: 2015-09-28

Global Water Partnership (GWP) welcomes the aspirational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by Member States at the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2015. The transformational vision of the agenda is ambitious and will need an unwavering commitment on the part of everyone. GWP will play its part.

At the core of the 2030 Agenda is a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To have any chance of successful implementation, the SDGs demand a rapid start up, consistent implementation and monitoring, integrated thinking, and collaborative action. As an action-oriented, multi-stakeholder partnership working at all levels, GWP is already actively engaged with countries, and is committed to support them in implementing the SDGs.

The Agenda covers a wide range of development issues. The specific water goal (SDG 6) and targets means that water resources management can no longer be an afterthought or taken for granted: economies and societies can only develop sustainably if water and water-using sectors collaborate. The 2030 Agenda declares that “we pledge that no one will be left behind…. And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.” Many of those furthest behind are those without adequate access to water. We need to start with them.

GWP at the Summit

GWP Chair Dr. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss was present at the historic UN Summit in New York. Summing up her impressions from the meeting, she stated that water now has a prominent place in the challenging 2030 SDG agenda.

"But there was agreement among all partners that a more binding institutional arrangement in the UN context is needed and has to be decided by member states," said Dr. Schaefer-Preuss.

"National processes have to be strengthened in all parts of the agenda, with partnerships being the sine qua non for successful implementation. As my take-away from this exciting time in New York during the initiation of this new phase of human development together with all member states, it is my urgent message to GWP to continue to be involved in the global processes in order not to lose ground which has been built up, established, and strengthened over the last three years."

GWP Taking Action

The new Development Agenda provides political commitment for integrated water resources management at the highest level, including a specific target (6.5). This has been and remains the raison d’être of GWP and has been taken up by many countries. GWP and its partners will work more fervently to help governments implement an integrated approach that takes into account the other goals, notably on climate, energy, food, health, governance, ecosystems, gender equality, and urbanisation.

Implementing this approach requires smarter decision-making based on the best knowledge available, and commitment to action with other sectors through working partnerships and shared responsibilities.

Water resources management is critical to long-term economic growth and poverty eradication. Its recognition in the 2030 Development Agenda gives GWP optimism that progress toward sustainable development and a productive and dignified life for all will be accelerated and more readily achievable.

Full report from GWP Chair on the SDG Summit.

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