UN 2023 Water Conference

UN 2023 Water Conference – A breakthrough for the Sustainable Development Goals

Some 10,000 participants gathered at UN Headquarters in New York and online from 22 to 24 March 2023, to urgently scale up action to address the water crisis and ensure equitable access to water for all. Previous Water Conference was held in 1977, thus this year is a breakthrough for our society and an urgent response to the global water crisis, with governments, businesses and civil society committing billions of dollars to advance the water agenda, a dealmaker for accelerating sustainable development overall.

The Conference brought together world leaders, civil society, business leaders, young people, scientists, academics, the UN System and others from across sectors — agriculture, energy, environment and water — around a common goal: to urgently tackle the water crisis and set the world back on track to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 – On Clean Water and Sanitation. Head of Water Research and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory and RTU professor Tālis Juhna attended the Conference as part of Latvian delegation.

Transformative Water Action Agenda

Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is the most basic human need for health and well-being, and a declared human right. But some 2 billion people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity. Agriculture demands alone account for some 70 % of water usage. Adding to the pressure, more than 90 % of disasters are water-related, with climate change hitting hardest through water. And humanity’s demand for water keeps growing, with pressure on freshwater projected to increase by more than 40 % by 2050. Against this background, conference deliberations ranged from the urgency of the water crisis, including its role in forced migration, climate change and conflicts to stressing its critical link to good health, poverty reduction and food security. Attention was also given to solutions, with deliberations spanning the need for better data collection, enhanced governance systems, capacity development opportunities and funding gaps in the water sector.

Responding to this, the Water Action Agenda, the key outcome of the Conference, captured over 700 commitments aimed at driving transformation from a global water crisis to a water-secure world. The agenda represents the global community’s bold resolve to address the water challenges through a more coordinated and results-driven approach.

We encourage everyone to take part in Water Action Agenda and register commitments for a safe and sustainable future. More information on the Agenda and Conference can be found in the the official UN website.