6 October 2020

With Water Security ‘in Dire Straits’, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Civil Society Summit to Sound Alarm, Encourage Entrepreneurship for Innovative Technology

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina Mohammed’s video message on the occasion of the Virtual C20 Summit Panel “In Dire Straits:  The Need for Collective Action for Water Security”, today:

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to greet the largest virtual gathering of civil society organizations in the history of the C20.  This unprecedented year has highlighted the need to engage all levels of government, all sectors of society, all walks of life, in the solutions we need.  The COVID‑19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our lives and livelihoods.  And it has exposed fundamental deficiencies in our development systems and environmental assets.

Water – the key to life and one of the keys to COVID‑19 prevention – is more insecure than ever before.  The number of water‑stressed regions is rapidly increasing.  The numbers are staggering.  And they are unacceptable.  Today, more than 2 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water; 4.2 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation services.  Water insecurity leads to ripple effects for individuals and communities – threatening the most basic health needs, increasing food insecurity, threatening jobs and ultimately creating all of the drivers for conflict and insecurity.

We must reverse course and find solutions to these pressing challenges.  As the world’s population continues to grow, we will need more and more water - for our health, our food, to meet the demand for energy and manufacturing.  We must strengthen water management and financing across national and local governments.

We have the tools, but they need scaling up.  Urgently.  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides an excellent framework to achieve water security.  When world leaders meet at the Group of 20, I hope they will recommit to SDG 6 and further commit to solving the global water crisis.  But we cannot achieve SDG 6 without civil society.

We need your voices and your innovations – new technologies from entrepreneurs, new data from academics and new ideas from young people.  We need the leaders of urban slums and rural communities that lack access to safe, clean water to raise the alarm bells.  I call on you to raise awareness and bring your solutions to this Summit.  Lives, jobs and the security of communities are at stake.  We need you.

Thank you again for your engagement and support.

For information media. Not an official record.