The UN 2023 Water Conference, clear and in no uncertain terms conveyed that globally “we are not on track to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water and sanitation for all.”

Water is the world’s most precious and irreplaceable resource. The conference clearly conveyed the urgency, complexity, and diversity of the water challenges facing the world, and the need to change the value, management, and governance of water as a global common good.

The increasing and interconnected, complex, cascading risks from climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, mass displacement, extreme drought, floods, and cross-border conflicts were widely discussed. By the conference’s end, there was agreement to establish a UN Special Envoy for Water, renewed political momentum, and more than 700 voluntary commitments and pledges.

Outcomes from high-level meetings;

  • radically change the world’s value for water, positioning it as a global commodity alongside water resource management;
  • adoption of a water-food-energy nexus approach to facilitate sustainable and just development, catalysing ecosystem and water health, to mitigate and manage risk;
  • facilitate finance innovation, including public-private partnerships;
  • human rights-based approach.


Report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development 



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