Implementing the SDGs in the post-2015 development agenda

Sunday 23 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: FH 300
Photo: Jonathan Macauley

Environment, economic and social issues underpin the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework for 2015-2030 currently under discussion by the UN Member States. They apply to low-, middle- and high-income countries alike. A dedicated water goal addressing the full range of core water issues has been proposed; some other goals have water included in their targets as a cross-cutting issue. In the next phase of the SDG process there will be a need for refinement of targets, development of indicators, financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements for implementation and monitoring. Some key aspects addressed at the workshop will include the development of feasible, relevant, measurable and cost-effective indicators; behavioral change focused on reducing adverse production and consumption patterns and pollution, and improving water use efficiency; water as an indispensable link across all the SDGs; capacity building to implement a dedicated water goal; and finance mechanisms extending beyond the short-term horizon.


Water Resources Management (SDG targets 6.4- 6.6)

16:00   Introduction
            Joakim Harlin, UNDP

16:05   Keynote: Water for development and development for water -
            Realising the new SDGs' vision
            Mohamed Ait-Kadi, GWP

16:20   Indicators for water and ecosystems: can monitoring complexity
            be simple, compelling and catalytic?
            Mark Smith, IUCN

16:35   Driving Sustainable Development through Water Footprint
            Ruth Mathews, Water Footprint Network

16:42   Water for Development – Capacity Building from Plans to
            Ahmed Abou Elseoud, Global Environment Facility

16:49   Improved Water Use Efficiency in Irrigation: Role of Water User
            Mukul Kulshrestha, MANIT, Bhopal

16:55   Q&A

17:05   Closing remarks
            Joakim Harlin, UNDP
            Kanika Thakar, McGill University

17:15   Video: One Water


The workshop concerned itself with the necessary steps, ideas, strategies and mechanisms for the successful implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6, ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The workshop was divided into three sections, each addressing different targets:

Section 1: Targets 6.1 and 6.2, Drinking Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene

Section 2: Target 6.3, Sanitation, Wastewater and Water Quality

Section 3: Targets 6.4 and 6.5, Water Efficiency, Integrated Water Resources Management and Protecting Aquatic Ecosystems

The second section of the workshop saw a great emphasis on the need to challenge the status quo and to think outside the box. The keynote speaker, Dr Jeremy Bird, Director-General of the International Water Management Institute, highlighted the concept of re-use and re-cycling of wastewater as the foundation for a circular, green water economy. The mass balance sheet, with a comprehensive overview of wastewater flows and wastewater disposal would help identify key mojitoring points for which indicators should be developed. Subsequent presenters challenged the conventional definition of “adequate sanitation” and asked whether and under what conditions shared sanitation facilities can be adequate. Alternative and innovative financing mechanisms for making cities open defecation-free highlighted a new role for banks in solving the sanitation crisis by pairing them with individuals looking for sanitation loans and spoke of the need to use demand-led schemes in funding structures, with due attention for microfinancing. The need for disaggregated data was identified, with examples illustrating that global monitoring can be highly irrelevant at the local level, unless there is effective reconciliation and harmonization of datasets, and how better data can empower local actors to better manage risks. Most importantly presenters tied together the need to balance the ambitions of SDGs with the capacity of local actors.

Key Messages and Conclusions of Section 2:

Several needs were identified:

  • A need to arrive at the right balance between the ambitions of the targets and the capacity to achieve them.
  • A need to challenge our accepted norms – can shared sanitation solutions not be adequate ones under certain conditions?
  • A need for innovative financing and demand-led schemes in order to achieve adequate sanitation coverage.
  • A need for more disaggregated data – meaningful data at the local level can empower local actors to better manage risk.