General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Water - Part 3

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22-Mar-2021 03:02:11
The President of the General Assembly convenes a high-level meeting to promote the implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda in support of the implementation of the Decade on Water and Sustainable Development (2018-2028) and the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF).

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Access to water is not just about “liquid in a bottle” but instead touches on universal issues such as dignity, opportunity and equality, the UN General Assembly President said on Thursday, in opening a high-level meeting on ensuring water and sanitation are available to all.

For Volkan Bozkir, the discussion was long overdue, given statistics such as three billion worldwide still lack basic hand washing facilities, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I may be candid: it is a moral failure that we live in a world with such high levels of technical innovation and success, but we continue to allow billions of people to exist without clean drinking water or the basic tools to wash their hands,” he said.

The meeting centred around implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, the blueprint for a better, more sustainable world. It promises to leave no one behind, with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 specifically addressing access to water and sanitation.

Additionally, the UN General Assembly has declared 2018 to 2028, the Water Action Decade, which also addresses the increased global pressure on water resources, and exacerbated risk of droughts and floods.

Mr. Bozkir said the fact that during the pandemic, billions have not had basic handwashing facilities, while health workers in some of the Least Developed Countries do not have running water, represents a “stark example of global inequality” that requires action.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General underscored just how far off the world is from achieving SDG 6. Amina Mohammed told the meeting the current rate of progress would have to quadruple to meet the 2030 deadline.

“Moreover, the planetary crisis, including the interlinked threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, will increase water scarcity”, she added. “By 2040, one in four of the world’s children under 18 – some 600 million – will be living in areas of extremely high-water stress.”

Ms. Mohammed highlighted three imperatives for countries, urging them to use their pandemic recovery plans to invest in the SDGs and to address the unequal access to water and sanitation.

She also asked governments to “raise ambition on climate action”, given that 90 per cent of natural disasters are water-related, such as floods, which can contaminate water sources.

With the legal right of all to safe drinking water universally recognized, the international community must focus on fully implementing this fundamental right for everyone on the planet, said Munir Akram, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

He expressed concern that by 2050, more than half the global population will be at risk due to stress on the world’s water resources.

Officials from more than 90 countries took part in the General Assembly meeting, including Heads of State who addressed the gathering through pre-recorded speeches.

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2608654
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2608697