World Water Week – using every drop of support to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6

Last week, Stockholm hosted the annual World Water Week, an international platform for a dialogue on the globe’s water issues. The week’s theme focused on ecosystems and the critical role of water in their functions. UN Water and UN DESA participated in the event to exchange ideas, share key messages and foster new thinking with others making a difference.

The SDG 6 Synthesis Report was a principal centerpiece at the event. The report demonstrates and assesses SDG 6, while analyzing data showing interlinkages between water, food, health and climate change. It also recommends key messages and policy recommendations for decision makers. UN Water presented the report during a stand-up session at the event.

The report was first presented at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development this July, but World Water Week presented UN Water with a unique opportunity to disseminate their findings in an even more relevant forum. Participants could share their experiences and ideas with a wider water-conscious audience.

World Water Week was also used as an opportunity for UN Water to celebrate the release of seven SDG 6 indicator reports. The reports provide high-quality data to monitor the progress towards achieving SDG 6. Statistics range from the use of waste water and water use-efficiency to transboundary water cooperation and ambient water quality. The indicators show that progress is slow, but we are headed in the right direction.

“It [SDG 6] is within reach if we advance our efforts; if we run faster and if we reconsider what we’re doing and what are the right priorities,” said Stefan Uhlenbrook, the Coordinator of the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme.

On the eve of World Water Week, UN Water, United Nations University and UN DESA hosted an event revolving around the Water Action Decade. The session included presentations on the Decade’s implementation, which brought participants up to speed on current activities and how to get involved. The event also provided an overview of existing projects and programmes.

Achieving universal access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene by 2030 remains a major challenge in many parts of the world. 2.3 billion people still lack basic sanitation services, and 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress. The world faces a 40 per cent shortfall in freshwater resources by 2030. To avoid a global water crisis, work needs to speed up. Water resources are more strained than ever, and it’s only through international efforts like World Water Week that we can achieve SDG 6.

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