United Nations launches SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework amid Water Crisis

Lahore (Ahsan Kamray)

The water and sanitation crisis is getting worse day by day. The challenges are unprecedented and growing but the World is off track which is a big concern for UN.In September 2015, world leaders adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals for fifteen years. All these goals apply equally to all and countries are doing efforts to end inequalities, poverty, solve climate change issues.

Out of these 17 goals, SDG 6 that ensures availability of water and sanitation and also sustainable management  for all by 2030 also supports the other 16 SDGs regarding education, energy, food, health, disease prevention, climate change etc.

UN has left only 10 years to achieve the SDGs so revolutionary actions are being taken esp. on SDG 6. The United Nations launched ‘SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework’ on Thursday in response to UN Secretary General’s call to mobilize for a Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

This Acceleration Framework aims to provide a speedy mechanism to make water & sanitation accessible to people around the Globe. It also aims to deliver fast results at alarge scale.

At the virtual launch of SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his happiness on the efforts taken in accordance with his call for decade of action.

He said that, to deliver all the other 16 SDGs, water is very important. Water & Sanitation crisis is threat to UN’s three pillars i.e. Peace & Security, Development and Human Rights.

UN Secretary General showed his concern on the risks of water disputes & conflicts on shared basins of 280 watercourses between different countries. It is about 60% of World’s water recourses. He emphasized that risk of water conflicts should be addressed.

UN Secretary General was concerned that by 2040, one in four of the world’s children under 18 – some 600 million in all – will be living in areas of extremely high water stress but the SDG 6 is badly off track. This is a big hurdle in achieving the 2030 Goals, human rights ,peace & security across the Globe.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Secretary General called handwashing with soap as the most effective way. He told that 40 percent of the world population don’t have hand washing facility in their homes. He emphasized on sustainable & resilient ecosystem to prevent future pandemics.

The Secretary-General warned that Climate change will be the deepening challenge in progress of SDG 6..

As world has entered a dangerous recession, so, Secretary General emphasized on the need of better coordination and alignment on use of resources in the most efficient and impactful way.

While the announcing the the first UN’s conference on water and sanitation,Secretary General called it as a key milestone of 2023. It will be a three days conference in New York on World Water Day.

UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, chaired the 2020 High Level Political Forum special event: The official launch of SDG 6 Global acceleration Framework. In his opening remarks he emphasized that water security is necessary for peace, not only at local level but also between nations. He told the participants that 60 percent fresh water is distributed among 148 countries having 250 water basins. So, we need multilateral cooperation to efficiently manage the water resources.

This meeting was Co-chaired by Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of IFAD and Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs gave welcome remarks & launched the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework.

Audrey Azoulay, DG UNESCO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, DG WHO, Qu Dongyu, DG FAO, Petteri Taalas Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Michelle Bachelet Jeria, High Commissioner, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Jennifer Sara, Global Director, Water Global Practice, World Bank Group, gave the speech while Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands, Jorge Luis Montenegro Chavesta, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru, Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation of South Africa, Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Tajikstan’s Minister Foreign Affairs, Matthias Berninger, Senior VP Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability of Bayer AG, Mina Guli CEO of Thirst and Water Advocate, showcased commitments on accelerating progress on SDG 6. Session was moderated by Lindsey Aldaco-Manner, President, and Alex Whitebrook, Vice President, World Youth Parliament for Water.

WHAT IS SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework?

SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework is a new, unifying initiative of United Nations that involves all sectors of society to speed up progress by improving support to countries. It is part of the UN Secretary-General’s Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. It aims to deliver fast results at an increased scale.

It is an increased focus on concrete country support as part of the UN reform which will have impact on country level. UN-Water will provide access to advocacy support, technical assistance and expertise. UN agencies, funds & other programs will work together & perform collectively. It will enable stakeholders to keep up momentum on SDG 6 and also to share their best practices.

The action pillars of SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework will be:
 

Engage:

UN through its Coordinator system will connect available expertise and scale up support within the system and the international community. This will lead to a better engagement with countries by unifying external backing around government-led plans, providing technical assistance and resources. International frameworks will be finetuned and powerful partnerships will be established or scaled up to promote effective, sustainable and peaceful management of water resources.

Align:

Working & coordination mechanism will be improved within the UN system while the International community will ensure work and improvement in SDGs. Ambition will be raised through strong political will and commitments, including in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

Accelerate:

Five accelerators will dramatically improve the international community’s support to country progress.

  1. Optimized financing – Improved targeting, better utilization of existing resources and mobilization of additional domestic and international funding will lead to efficient service delivery and implementation. 2. Improved data and information – Data generation, validation, standardization and information exchange will build trust so leaders can make informed decisions and increase accountability.
  2. Capacity development – Inclusive human and institutional capacities at all levels will enable improved service levels, operating and maintenance technology, increased job creation in the water sector and the retaining of a skilled workforce.
  3. Innovation – Innovative practices and technologies will be leveraged and scaled up and ultimately lead to improved water resources and sanitation development and management.
  4. Governance – Cross-sector and transboundary collaboration, clear roles, stakeholder involvement and effective and inclusive institutions will make SDG 6 everyone’s business.
Account:

Accountability among all actors will be promoted by reviewing progress and learning together. One part of this pillar will be the SDG 6 Action Space that aims to mobilize all sectors of society to take and record action that will be discussed at the UN-Water Meetings.

Writer is a journalist, host, social activist and entrepreneur. Write to him at kamrayahsan@gmail.com

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