Third Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters “Adaptation to Climate Change, Boosting Financing and Investment, and Advancing Science and Technology”

Your Excellency Mr. János Áder (President of Hungary),Your Excellency Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (President of Mauritius),Dr. Han Seung-soo,Excellencies,Distinguished Participants,Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor to participate in this important event on water and disaster, focusing on the adaption to climate change, boosting financing and investment, and advancing science and technology.

I commend the organizers for taking an integrated approach to this challenge. Indeed, we need action in all these areas to meet the water challenge.

Creating synergies between water and other SDGs also presents a new opportunity for a balanced and integrated implementation of the entire 2030 Agenda.

Today, there are around 2.4 billion people who do not use improved sanitation, and 663 million who do not have access to improved water sources.

Without access to safe drinking water and sanitation, we cannot ensure health, food security, dignity and equality for all.  Nor can we help protect our fragile ecosystems.

The impacts of climate change are aggravating these challenges. Recent years have seen increasing frequency of water related natural disasters, causing significant financial loss and casualties.

Moreover, 90% of disasters in the world are water-related, such as floods, including flash flooding, droughts, deforestation and desertification.

Integrated implementation of water-related SDGs is therefore critical for ensuring that no one is left behind in relation to access to water and sanitation and in disaster risk reduction.


There is no doubt that world needs to transform the way it manages its water resources. The world also needs to transform the way it delivers water and sanitation services for billions of people.

In this regard, I take the opportunity to highlight the General Assembly resolution on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028.

The Decade helps lay out a roadmap for the coming years for advancing the water SDGs and targets.

The priority now is turning the new vision of the water SDGs into reality, through national leadership and global partnership.

Recent global agreements – including the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Paris Agreement on Climate Change – all call for addressing water-related extreme events, and climate change adaptation, in a more concerted and integrated way.

All stakeholders need to promote efforts to mobilize and target financial resources, and scale up investment.

Enhancement of scientific and technological cooperation is also one of the important tools for effective disaster risk reduction, including water disasters.


Last year, the UN Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank convened a High-level Panel on Water (HLPW), with 11 Heads of State or Government, and one Special Advisor, to provide the vision and commitments required to meet the water challenge.

The participation in today’s event by the three Panel Members - Her Excellency the President of Mauritius, as Co-chair of the Panel, as well as His Excellency the President of Hungary, and His Excellency Dr. Han Seung-soo as the Special Advisor, reaffirm their strong and continuous support for water issues.

Under their leadership and commitment, the High-level Panel on Water has already made significant progress. It has launched an Action Plan, as well as 14 initiatives, which includes several priority actions on resilient economies, societies and disaster risk reduction.

I am convinced that these initiatives, combined with other ongoing actions by the UN system, the business and civil society, will help induce and multiply innovative solutions to the water and disaster challenge.

Water is life. Water is livelihood. Water is the bloodline of the ecosystem and water is future.  Let us value and treasure it, as we value and treasure our children.

I wish you fruitful discussions during this important session.

Thank you.
File date: 
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Mr. Wu