United Nations Regional Commissions met to share the results of the preparatory meetings and dialogues convened for the Water Conference.

The 2023 Water Conference served as the comprehensive midterm review of the Decade of Action for Water, 2018-2028, which emphasizes the importance of cooperation and partnerships at all levels to achieve internationally agreed goals and targets related to water. In preparation for this review, the five United Nations Regional Commissions: the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic Commission and Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) engaged member states and stakeholders in regional consultations during the years 2022 and 2023 to assess progress and identify regional priorities and initiatives to mobilize water action.

In this context, last Friday, March 24, the parallel event “Accelerating the implementation of the Water Action Agenda” was held. The event was aimed at sharing the results of the regional preparatory meetings and dialogues convened in the five regions in preparation for the 2023 UN Water Conference. The executive secretaries of the regional commissions, the ministers responsible for water and the representatives from civil society shared their ideas and commitments to accelerate the achievement of water-related goals. The event included two panels, one thematic focused on water priorities and another focused on the means of implementation.

Representing Mr. José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Ms. Jeannette Sánchez, Director of ECLAC’s Natural Resources Division participated in the first panel presenting the Regional Water Action Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is the main result of the 2023 Regional Dialogues for Water that took place in February 2023. The agenda includes the main voluntary commitments expressed by the countries, civil society and regional institutions and organizations. In addition, it aligns and reinforces several previous treaties, agreements and strategies on water management and constitutes a call to action to mobilize all the political, technical and financial resources of the region. In particular, the Agenda highlights the areas for prioritization and the efforts needed to accelerate the achievement of SDG 6.

In the 2023 Regional Water Dialogues, a set of actions and commitments were agreed upon, and some of the most notable were:

  • The identification of the need to promote the democratic governance of water through the strengthening of technical capacities for decision-making at all levels and move forward strongly in the construction of a sustainable and inclusive water transition.
  • In addition, it was agreed that the region urgently needs to strengthen the adoption of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) practices to increase resilience to climate change and mitigate the impact of disasters.
  • In addition, the region needs to adopt new investment models and form public-private partnerships, including various civil society actors and local communities to access financing and promote a new culture and appreciation of water.
  • Finally, it promises to harmonize the political processes for decision-making, monitoring and management of shared transboundary waters, recognizing community management and native peoples, in a framework of dialogue with a focus on the creation of inclusive alliances for the water.

To summarize the contributions of the five United Nations Regional Commissions, the “Mid-Term Review of the Decade of Action for Water: Key Messages from the UN Regional Commissions”. The document provides an overview of regional contributions to the global event, reflecting the diversity of views and experiences. It also shows the progress, opportunities and challenges identified in the five regions, as well as cross-cutting issues of common interest. In addition, the document provides an overview of the progress made in each of the five regions in relation to the relevant SDGs, specifically, SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation, and other global mandates related to water.

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Written by Editor TLN

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