Advancing sustainable mountain development recognized as a commitment of action ahead of the UN 2023 Water Conference


Considering more than half of humanity relies on mountain freshwater for everyday life, the careful management of mountain water resources is a global priority. In the lead up to the UN 2023 Water Conference, the Mountain Partnership Secretariat successfully submitted a commitment of action titled "Advancing sustainable mountain development and protecting the 'water towers' of the world".

On 22–24 March 2023 the United Nations General Assembly will convene the first UN conference on freshwater in almost 50 years. Proceedings will focus on the 2030 Agenda and the critical role water plays across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN 2023 Water Conference will focus particular attention to SDG6, the goal dedicated to sustainable water management, including Target 6.6 which recognizes mountains' important role, calling for the protection and restoration of water-related ecosystems by 2030. Across the three days, six plenary meetings and five interactive dialogues, along with a range of side events will be held. Bringing together stakeholders from across the world, the official mandated outcome document, the Water Action Agenda will be comprised of voluntary commitments, innovative approaches, and a summary of event proceedings. The Mountain Partnership Secretariat's commitment of action is derived from the Five Years of Action for the Development of Mountain Regions, recently approved by the United Nations General Assembly as part of the resolution A/RES/77/172. This plan builds on the momentum of the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development in 2022 led by the Mountain Partnership and is an opportunity to build on the progress that this international year achieved, by enhancing greater dialogue, attention and action between different stakeholders committed to sustainable mountain development.

This commitment recognizes that the benefits derived from mountain regions are essential for sustainable development and that mountain ecosystems play a crucial role in providing water and other life-serving resources and services to a significant number of the world's growing population. The expected impacts from this commitment include several benefits, from increased financial support and investment for sustainable mountain development, to protecting biodiversity and endangered species.

The UN 2023 Water Conference and the Water Action Agenda aims to unite the world for water. The key building blocks of the Water Action Agenda are commitments to action; sustained and scalable implementation; and follow-up and review processes. These blocks aim to enable replication and scaling up of what works and bring successful solutions to global scale.

For more details on the commitment, please click here.

See the list of Mountain Partnership events at the UN 2023 Water Conference

Photo: ©Phillip Keim

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