By nature, water connects different environments, peoples and sectors. But growing demands for water, coupled with poor water management, have increased water stress around the world. Meanwhile, the effects of worsening climate change are often felt through water, in the form of floods or droughts. Something has to change.
Halfway into the Water Action Decade, our progress on water-related goals and targets remains alarmingly off-track, jeopardizing the entire sustainable development agenda.
The UN 2023 Water Conference will put water into the spotlight and onto global agendas. It seeks to mobilize States, the UN system and stakeholders alike to share and exchange knowledge, challenges and best practices, and forge new partnerships across sectors. Governance, innovation, data and financing all have a role to play in accelerating water action.
The Conference aims to help everyone better understand, value and manage water and take concerted action to achieve the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets. Water can be the dealmaker for the Sustainable Development Goals, and in turn for the health and prosperity of people and planet. Water action can increase food security and equality between genders, water action keeps children in school, communities at peace and nature healthy.
While briefing the General Assembly on his priorities for the year, Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the need for water action and that we must "act decisively before it is too late".
The time is now. The UN 2023 Water Conference is the once-in-a-generation opportunity to act for water.