2015 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference. Water and Sustainable Development: From Vision to Action. 15-17 January 2015

Setting the scene: Water in the post-2015 agenda – Progress, implementation challenges and tools

Date: 15 January 2015.
Time: 12:00-18:45
Location: Etopía. Avda. Ciudad de Soria, 8. 50010 Zaragoza
Session conveners: UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare and productivity of populations. It is central to the production and preservation of a host of benefits and services for people. Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change, serving as the crucial link between the climate system, human society and the environment.

The Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has proposed a goal 6 on water "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all". There are different targets related to basic water and sanitation services, water resources management and water quality. There are other water related targets under other goals and specifically the one on water related disasters under goal 11. During 2014/2015 negotiations are taking place in relation to these targets.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be adopted in 2015 will create a unique momentum for countries to advance on a variety of issues critical for political, socio-economic and environmental development. In particular, the current proposal for a dedicated water goal (number 6) calls for ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This would provide an opportunity for policy makers and stakeholders to mobilise collective efforts, create shared global understanding and commit to action to improve water management for people and the environment. The water-related goal aims to shift the paradigm focused on solving individual situations and begin connecting the dots between actors, policy fields and scales to address water challenges in a systemic way.

Implementing the water related SDGs and moving to action requires looking into the existing information in relation to the tools for implementation and looking into how appropriate they are to address the new implementation challenges in relation to the new Sustainable Development Goals. Financing, Technology, Capacity Development and Governance tools are essential to implement the post-2015 Agenda. In the context of the preparation of the post-2015 agenda a Technology Facility and the Financing Framework have been discussed and considered. Some of these discussions are pertinent to the implementation of the water agenda.

To move forward on these actions and set the enabling environment for the effective implementation of the water SDG, tools and good practices already exist in the water sector. There are a wide variety of guidelines, instruments, and publications that support improved implementation in the water sector. In an effort to compile these resources, for instance on Governace, an InventoryPDF Document was prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and gathers more than 100 governance tools, water and non-water specific, around 4 thematic building blocks: stakeholder engagement; performance and governance of water supply and sanitation; basin governance; and integrity and transparency. The key is to scale up their implementation and tailor them to specific contexts.

The opening session of the Zaragoza conference will provide an opportunity to present the state of the art and some issues for discussion to be able for more tools to be identified, raise awareness and commit a wide range of stakeholders to action while scaling up good practices and developing concrete guidance.

>> Plenary: Opening and Setting the Scene. The water related sustainable development goals and targets: progress and challengesPDF document


The plenary sessions during the first day of the Conference will serve to:

a). Present work so far and provide an update of existing developments in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals with an specific focus on the implementation issues being discussed by members States and being raised by different stakeholders;

b). Discuss the interconnections between some of the key processes related to the SDGs, such as those leading to the Paris Climate Submit in December 2015 and the World Water Forum in Daegu (Korea);

c). Provide some background on the main implementation challenges and tools related to four main themes (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Water Resources Management, Water Quality and Risks);

d). Discuss with main stakeholders on the progress and lessons learnt during the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015.


The sessions are designed as a series of substantive presentations to provide an initial brief to the participants of developments so far in relation to the international water agenda. The sessions are also intended to offer a space for presentation of some discussion openers related to the implementation challenges and existing knowledge on the tools for implementation. They will serve to frame the discussions by different stakeholders during day 2 of the Conference. The participation of different stakeholders presenting their views on progress and lessons learnt during the water decade will help understanding the specific concerns and views of the different stakeholder groups.


12:00-13:00 Welcome Lunch and registration at the venue (Main Hall Etopia Building, Avda. Ciudad de Soria, 8, opposite the AVE Train Station-Departures Gate/SALIDAS)

13:00- 14:00 Formal opening – Auditorium of Etopia Building


  • Blanca Jimenez, UN-Water Vice Chair

Welcome addresses by

  • Welcome video by Michel Jarraud, UN-Water Chair
  • Gonzalo Robles, Secretary General for Cooperation. Government of Spain, Spanish Representative in the Open Working Group. Views and expectations of the EU in relation to the water related SDGs.  (tbc)
  • Léo Heller, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation
  • Major of Zaragoza, on the role of Local Governments and Agenda 21

14:00- 15:00 The water related Sustainable Development Goals:Progress and Challenges. Interlinkages with other processes



  • Michela Miletto, UNESCO/WWAP. Sustainable development challenges and opportunities.
  • Joakim Harlim, UNDP, coordinator of UN-Water Working Group on SDGs. The water related Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Karin Lexen, SIWI. Interlinkages of the water related SDGs and other global processes.

15:00-17:00 State of the Art on Implementation Challenges and Tools. Discussion openers and questions


  • Josefina Maestu, Director/Coordinator UNW-DPAC

Discussion openers on tools for implementation

  • Jose Gesti, UNICEF. Implementing the WASH related targets through capacity development and social instruments and the role of different stakeholders.
  • Aziza Akmouch, OECD.  Implementing the water related SDGs: governance challenges and tools and the role of different stakeholders.
  • Xavier Leflaive, OECD. Implementing the water related SDGs: financing and economic instruments challenges and tools and the role of different stakeholders
  • Elisa Tonda, UNEP. Implementing the water related SDGs: technology challenges and tools and the role of different stakeholders.

Response panel: issues and questions on tools for key water related SDGs themes

  • Jean Marc Faure, FAO. Implementation challenges and questions for new issues on water resources management.
  • Nathalie André/Didier Allély, WHO. Implementation challenges and questions for new issues in WASH.
  • John Harding, UNISDR. Implementation challenges and questions for new issues on water-related disasters.
  • Thomas Chiramba/David Coates, UNEP/CBO. Implementation challenges and questions for new issues on water quality and ecosystem’s protection.

17:00-17:30 Coffee Break (at main Hall, outside of the Auditorium)

17:30-18:30 Views on progress and lessons learnt during the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015


  • Felipe de la Morena, , Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain (tbc)


  • Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Global Water Partnership, on progress on stakeholder engagement during the decade
  • Alice Bouman-Dentener, Women for Water Partnership. Progress and lessons learnt on women engagement.
  • Gavin Power, CEO Water Mandate. Progress and lessons learnt on business engagement.
  • Barbara Anton, ICLEI. Progress, best practices and lessons learnt by Local Authorities during the decade.

18:30-18:45 Closure of the sessions

20:00 Major of Zaragoza’s Welcome Reception at the Municipal Government Building. City Center, Plaza del Pilar, Zaragoza (buses 34 or 51 at the train station).

>> Conference Home

About the Conference

>> Conveners and partners
>> Objectives and expected outcomes
>> Conference flyerPDF Document
>> AgendaPDF Document
>> StructurePDF Document
>> ParticipantsPDF Document


>> Accommodation
>> Travelling to Zaragoza
>> Your stay in Zaragoza
>> Map

The vision

>> Rio+20
>> Water and sustainable development
>> Global commitments on water
>> A post-2015 global goal for water
>> Water and the Open Working Group (OWG)
>> The role of actors involved

The action

>> Capacity development
>> Financing and economic instruments
>> Governance frameworks
>> Technology

Action on…

>> Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
>> Water Resources Management
>> Water Quality
>> Risk management

14 January: Pre-Conference Side events and Technical Visits

>> Technical visit: La Cartuja
>> Technical visit: The Ebro River Basin Authority and its Automatic System for Hydrologic Information (SAIH)
>> Technical visit: Expo + Water Park
>> New sources: Wastewater reuse
>> Local level actions in decentralized water solidarity towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
>> Water Footprint Assessment
>> Technological advances and Water Policy
>> Cultivando Agua Boa Programme
>> CODIA and water and energy in LAC
>> The fulfillment of the human right to water and sanitation

15 January: Setting the scene and the context

>> Achieving sustainable water for all in LAC
>> Achieving water security for Asia and the Pacific
>> Ensuring implementation of the water-related SDGs in Europe
>> Setting the scene

16 January: Whose action?

>> Academia
>> Business
>> Civil society
>> Governments and local authorities
>> Media and Communicators

17 January: Integrating knowledge and the way forward

>> Multi-stakeholder dialogue on tools for implementation


>> Cases
>> Conference daily
>> Conference Communications ReportPDF Document
>> Discussion forum
>> Information briefs on Water and Sustainable Development
>> Interviewing conference participants
>> Overview Papers
>> Presentations from participants
>> Session Reports
>> Tool Papers
>> Toolbox
>> Twitter Activity Report
>> Video recording of sessions
>> Video interviews with conference participants

Promotional materials

>> Conference banners
>> Conference posterPDF document