United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation
How will water and sanitation challenges be reflected in the Post-2015 development agenda? This session will provide the most current thinking of those close to the intergovernmental negotiations. The UN Member States have constituted an Open Working Group to define the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. One proposal is for a stand-alone Water Goal with components on access to safe water and sanitation, wastewater management and water resources management reflecting the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) post-2015 proposal circulated in January 2012. There are also proposals that as a cross-cutting challenge, water could be reflected across goals, with water access and sanitation related to health, water use in agriculture related to food security, water efficiency related to enegy or water and disasters related to building resilience.
For the post-2015 development framework to have legitimacy, it is crucial that the world galvanizes to make the most progress possible on the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDG sanitation target is the most lagging of all with 2.4 billion lacking access to improved sanitation. The discussion will also consider efforts to make a real push for sanitation in the time remaining. Urgently needed in many parts of the world, significant progress for sanitation will demonstrate the efficacy of setting global development objectives. Efforts such as the Sanitation Drive to 2015 and the Deputy Secretary-General’s Call to Action on Sanitation will be highlighted. In addition, UNSGAB’s new mandate through 2015 – Hashimoto Action Plan III will be shared. This is the inaugural event for UNSGAB’s new Chair, HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan.
12.45 Opening. Dr. Johan Kuylenstierna, SEI
12:48 Opening Remarks. Dr Uschi Eid, UNSGAB Vice-ChairDr Uschi Eid, UNSGAB Vice-Chair
1:00 UN-Water’s Support to the Post-2015 and Sustainable Development Goals Processes. Mr. Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General ofWMO and Chair of UN-Water
13:15 Negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals and a dedicated Water Goal - The Budapest Water Summit’s Contribution. Dr. Gabor Baranyai, Deputy State Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hungary
13:25 From Global Goals to Concrete Actions: Strategies for Effective Implementation. Mr. Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General
13:35 Concluding Remarks. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
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Those close to the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations reflected on two alternative ways to address water. First, as a stand-alone Water Goal encompassing access to safe water and sanitation, wastewater management, water resources management or second as a cross-cutting challenge reflected across goals related to health, food security, energy or disasters.
Dr Uschi Eid, UNSGAB Vice-Chair, set the stage on behalf of UNSGAB new Chair, His Royal Highness, Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, by addressing unfinished business and future vision.
Unfinished business remains for MDG drinking water and sanitation targets. The sanitation target is arguably the most off-track. Even for the drinking water target which has been met, UNSGAB has noted that water quality or sustainable access is not yet taken into consideration.
For the future, UNSGAB advocates for a stand-alone water goal with 3 components:
1universal access to sustainable sanitation and to drinking water that is really safe
2 improved wastewater management and pollution prevention
3 improved integrated water resources management and water-use efficiency.
This approach is now followed by some governments and also by the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda.
Mr Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water, highlighted the rationale for inclusion of water in the post-2015 framework. “The MDGs showed how setting global goals could be a very powerful tool to galvanize global action.” UN-Water is consolidating the UN system’s experience and expertise into a technical advice on all issues related to a possible water goal, including exploring the potential data-collection and monitoring mechanisms which could be put in place in its support.
Mr Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of OECD and UNSGAB member, mentioned the OECD estimate of a 55 percent increase in demand for water by 2050 because of population and economic growth mostly in developing countries. He passionately supported UNSGAB’s call for prioritizing water in the new development agenda.
Ms Ida Auken, Danish Minister of Environment, reminded participants that the negotiation on a post2015 water goal doesn’t start on a blank sheet. Water figures prominently in the Rio +20 outcome document, which member states should use as a basis for upcoming negotiations – Denmark is committed to take the Rio commitments forward.
Dr Tibor Stelbaczky, Head of EU Sectoral Policies department, Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained his government’s support for a water goal. In particular Hungary will provide a stage to advance the definition of this goal at the upcoming Budapest Water Summit.
Mr Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, renewed his Call to Action on Sanitation, reminding participants to continue to accelerate the MDGs while simultaneously preparing for the post-2015 development agenda. Illustrating the impacts of lack of sanitation with examples out of his own experience, he underlined “we need to mobilize everyone and put the problem in the centre”. In the context of the post-2015 development framework, he expressed his personal “profound sympathy” for the call by previous speakers for a stand-alone goal, but reminded participants that the power of decision is with member states.