Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Closing Remarks for the High-level Symposium on SDG 6 and Targets


Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations I would like to thank you all for having taken active part in this very important High-level Symposium on the Sustainable Development Goal on Water, SDG 6 and its targets.

I am honored to be invited to deliver closing remarks at this critically important gathering.

The Symposium provided a platform for a focused and balanced discussion on critical issues, policy measures, effective actions and means of implementation to fast-track implementation of the water SDG and related targets.

Valuable experiences were shared on lessons learned and good practices in improving access to water and sanitation, as well as in increasing water use efficiency, reducing water pollution, protection of water basins and ecosystems, and advancing international cooperation and partnerships.

Participants identified and discussed obstacles and challenges, and explored opportunities for regional and multilateral cooperation and partnerships.

I hope this platform is useful for the enhancement of your networks and the exchange of knowledge on global water issues and goals supporting poverty eradication and sustainable development.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Without substantial progress on water and sanitation, we will not fully achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and we will not fulfil the commitment to leave no one behind.

Currently, hundreds of millions of people are suffering and being left behind due to lack of safe water and adequate sanitation. At least 1.8 billion people worldwide drink contaminated water. 2.4 billion people lack safe sanitation.

SDG 6 aims to ensure, by 2030, the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, regardless of location or circumstances.

The SDGs must be a vehicle for supporting efforts to achieve the rights to water and sanitation for all. When we call for no one to be left behind it is not from a sense or perspective of charity but as an acknowledgement of a duty and of a right.

We must settle for nothing less than equitable access to safe water and adequate sanitation for all.

For water to continue to sustain life, we must work together in innovative ways. And we must reach out to new partners.

The availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all will require new levels of international attention, joint analyses, new spaces for dialogue and a renewed commitment to cooperation among nations, communities and different sectors of society.

We have huge tasks ahead of us in a troubled world. But we also have great tools in our hands with the new SDGs which cover the whole agenda of the UN including the crucial water issues.

I would like to thank the Government of Tajikistan on behalf of the United Nations for the valuable support in the field of water during the last decades and the current strong support in advancing the SDG goal on water and sanitation at the global level.

I would like to also congratulate the Government of Tajikistan, as well as my colleagues at UNDESA, UNESCO, UNDP and the World Bank Group, for organising this very successful High-level Symposium on SDG 6 and its targets.

And I thank you all again for taking part in this very important event and for the firm and active attention you are giving to water which is crucial in ensuring that no one is left behind.

Now we have to carry this effort forward into the future. We must continue working towards a world where water and sanitation needs are met for all.

Thank you.


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