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[March Free Report] United for Water Action: Reflections on the UN Water Conference

by Fiona Brown | 31-03-2023 07:50 recommendations 0

Secure access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right that many are denied. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely managed drinking water services, 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, and 3 billion lack basic hand washing facilities." The water that we consume daily for the purposes of drinking, cooking, and hygiene is a precious natural resource, however over-use and poor management is putting the water supply at risk. Mass consumption due to uses in industry, sanitation, and agriculture has contributed to pollution, and gravely over-extended this crucial asset. These issues were among those addressed at the 2023 UN Water Conference, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, the first major UN conference on water in almost 50 years. The multitude of distinguished speakers from a variety of groups and stakeholders, such as the Secretary General of the Minister of Environmental of Estonia, the Minister of Water Supply for Nepal, the Minister of Justice, Law Enforcement and the Environment of Belgium, the Minister of Water Resources of South Sudan, and many others, touched on the national and global commitments being made in recognition of the water scarcity crisis, but the progressing theme was the expression of a need for more definitive action in political and private sectors. "This conference can only be the beginning" commented one speaker. A point considered crucial by leaders and speakers of the Day 1 Plenary session held in the General Assembly Hall, was the importance of private sector engagement in the water crisis, including the sector's ties to agriculture, as pointed out by Michael Korbori, Chief Sustainability Officer of the coffee shop chain Starbucks. Also brought forward in Day 2 of the conference, most prevalently in the side event session "Reducing Inequalities - Implementing Human Rights" was the effects of the water crisis on marginalized communities such as Indigenous groups, women, youth, and the need for these groups to be represented and participate in an inclusive, nexus-style governance structure. This point was carried into Day 3, and the session "Water Leadership - Uniting for a Sustainable World", in which United Nations youth constituencies YOUNGO, UNMGCY and UN1FY participated, along with individuals who spoke of their innovative solutions to water issues and intersectional topics. "Social inclusion is so crucial" commented Amrita Gautam, Founder of Drink Pani and Soroptimist International Award winner, who also pinpointed the importance of protecting the water supply for future generations. This area was also highlighted in the Day 2 Plenary session, with one speaker commenting "It's the commitments that turn into actions that will create a sustainable future for the generations to come." In each session, the point came forward that only with inclusive governance that encompasses all perspectives, groups, and stakeholders, and whose main focus isn't financial gain, will definitive actions to reach Sustainable Development Goal 6 be achieved by the deadline of 2030. In short, the sentiments of the UN Water Conference are summed up in a quote by Nelson Mandela shared in session: "Vision with action can change the world."


  • Canada Former E-gen Ambassador Fiona Brown
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James Mentor

  • James Mentor says :
    Hello Fiona! This is your mentor James!

    First of all, so sorry for the late comment.

    I see that you have participated in the UN Water Conference! What an event!! As you have mentioned above, overexploitation and low recycling rate of clean drinking water is a major social issue arising in many regions over the world. I find it quite interesting that the water crisis may be closely related to human rights and social equality. It's certainly wonderful to hear that you were able to participate in all three Plenary Sessions and acknowledge the current trend of tackling the water crisis.

    Thank you for writing such an inspiring report! Let's keep up the good work.
    Posted 05-05-2023 16:51

Jean Blaise Seka

  • Jean Blaise Seka says :
    Water is a very essential element for mans survival. I think it is great to start taking bold steps to make water more accessible to people now, if not we might not be able to serve the 10 billion people expected in our planet by 2050.
    Posted 31-03-2023 17:24

Yewon Mentor

  • Yewon Mentor says :
    Hello Fiona! This is your mentor Yewon.

    You have written your report about very, very important topic, water! Water is so important that UN is trying to solve this problem by assigning ‘Clean Water and Sanitation?? as one of the SDGs(Sustainable Development Goals).

    As you explained in your report, at 2023 UN Water Conference, many people once again confirmed the importance of water. I hope that there have been many useful discussions at this conference to solve the water problem, and that these efforts will solve the water-related problems on Earth in the future.

    Thank you for your great work!
    Posted 31-03-2023 16:13

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