FAO Director-General QU Dongyu moderated the closing Interactive Dialogue focused on the progress and challenges in the goals of the Water Action Decade 2018-2028
Fishermen at Lake Tanganyika, the second oldest and largest freshwater lake in the world.
©© Sanjit Das/FOOD4 La Stampa
New York- On the last day of the UN 2023 Water Conference, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) welcomed the outcomes of the three-day meeting and reaffirmed its commitment to actively follow up agreed actions in the new Water Action Agenda.
“At the critical point of the 2030 Agenda, all sectors must work together in an efficient, effective and coherent manner to co-create, co-design and co-advocate solutions, and to accelerate action on data and information, innovation, finance, capacity development and governance to implement the Water Action Decade”, Director-General QU Dongyu said while moderating a high-level dialogue at UN headquarters in New York.
The Water Action Decade, designated by the UN General Assembly from 2018 to 2028, was created to complement the process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, moving away from silos and integrating efforts at the global level. The meeting moderated by the FAO-Director General aimed to take stock of the advancement in the objectives for the Decade formulated by the UN Secretary-General’s Plan.
The event was co-chaired by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies of Singapore and Monica Medina, Assistant Secretary for Oceans, International Environment and Scientific Affairs of the Department of State, United States.
Shamugaratnam underscored that the UN 2023 Water Conference has demonstrated the potential to expedite and mobilize concerted efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), while also utilizing water as a catalyst for advancing progress across all other SDGs.
Medina emphasized that the Conference represents a watershed moment, and global leaders cannot afford to delay action to safeguard water resources. "We have a responsibility to future generations, and to the millions of people today who continue to face water insecurity," she underscored.
The main panelists were Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovenia, Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing of Indonesia, Zulfiya Suleimenova, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan, and Usha Rao-Monari, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). They shared insights into their countries' and organizations' endeavours to expand access to drinking water services, mitigate water scarcity, and respond to water-related natural disasters. They also called for more robust international cooperation to achieve the objectives of the Water Action Decade
Meanwhile, Mina Guli, Founder and CEO of the Thirst Foundation, Sivan Ya’ari, Founder &CEO of Innovation: Africa, and Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), emphasized the crucial need to translate commitments into action. They underscored the urgency of the dire water scarcity already affecting many communities around the world, as well as the significance of innovative technologies and strategic investments to address this challenge effectively.
More than 20 member states also took the floor to deliver national statements underscoring how water is critical for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger.
FAO’s commitment at the UN 2023 Water Conference
For Qu, the 2023 UN Water Conference provided great opportunities to discuss, collaborate and collectively identify solutions for efficient and effective action to realize water-related goals and targets to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
“Through our new FAO Water Journey we are raising attention on the crucial importance of water for agriculture and food security, as well as to all other SDGs”, he emphasized.
The conference was a call to action for every single person on the planet to accelerate change to solve the water and sanitation crisis around the world.
Currently, 2.3 billion people live in water-stressed countries, of which more than 733 million people - approximately 10 per cent of the global population - live in countries with high and critical water stress. Water scarcity, drought, floods, pollution and other impacts of the crisis are key challenges to sustainable agriculture and rural development.
During the three-day meeting, FAO provided support to two high-level Interactive Dialogues, organized a side event on National Water Roadmaps, and co-partnered three Special Events and over 20 side events.
The Water Action Agenda that emerged from the conference is comprised of voluntary commitments, some of which are transformative in nature.
FAO has engaged in seven commitments, in the framework of the Agenda:
These commitments support integrated water resources management to ensure the 4 Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, in line with the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31.
Water is essential for food production, enabling the production of over 95 per cent of the food on land. By 2050, to meet future demand, the global production of food, fibre and feed will need to increase by 50 per cent compared to 2012. To meet this goal, 35 per cent of additional water resources are needed.
Watch the full dialogue webcast
Q&A FAO’s work on water
FAO’s Water Commitments: Li Lifeng, Director of the Land and Water Division, speaks to at SDG Media Zone
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