International Water Management Institute / Turkish Water Institute / United Nations University - Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources / United Nations University-Institute for Water, Environment and Heath

Journey to a world free of untreated wastewater

Tuesday 29 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: FH 300

The SDG target 6.3 demands halving the proportion of untreated wastewater globally by 2030. To achieve this, the low-income countries (LICs) and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) must achieve higher reductions in untreated wastewater than high-income countries (HICs) and upper-middle-income countries (UMICs). Assuming SDG 6.3 ideally achieved in 2030, there will still be 15% untreated wastewater in HICs, 31% in UMICs, 36% in LMICs, and 46% in LICs. This trajectory suggests that seeing a world free of untreated wastewater may take several “SDG like periods” with associated damage to environment and health and implications for sustainable development.
We are in danger of leaving the wastewater challenge to young people as next generation will be facing the results of today’s practices. They should have a voice in decision-making on wastewater management. This event will involve young professionals posing questions to  wastewater leaders on innovative interim safe water reuse approaches until the world is free from untreated wastewater.

Gold standard events are committed to ensure the gender balance in speakers/panellists and young professional representation in the session.


16:00 Journey to a world free of untreated wastewater
Manzoor Qadir, Assistant Director, UNU-INWEH

16:20 Panel Discussion
Moderator: Pay Drechsel, IWM

  • Tamara Avellán, UNU-FLORES
  • Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, UNESO-IHP
  • Praem Mehta, UNU-INWEH
  • Serena Caucci, UNU-FLORES
  • Burcu Yazici, TWI

16:50 Open discussion

17:20 Summary
Manzoor Qadir, Assistant Director, UNU-INWEH

17:30 Close of session


Understanding the fact that seeing a world free of untreated wastewater may take several "SDG like periods", there is urgency to expedite efforts to collect, treat, and use of treated wastewater for fit-for-purpose options to protect water quality and enhance resource recovery from wastewater. Else, we will continue facing the "Catch-22" situation for decades where the use of untreated wastewater would benefit poor communities, but with increasing health and environmental risks, burdens, and costs.