INTERVIEW: Turn the tide on water disaster with game-changing commitments, urge co-hosts of UN convention

INTERVIEW: Turn the tide on water disaster with game-changing commitments, urge co-hosts of UN convention

Bringing collectively Governments, establishments, banks, companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), youth, girls, indigenous peoples and plenty of different stakeholders from world wide, the UN 2023 Water Conference (22 to 24 March) will search to search out game-changing options to the multifaceted international disaster of ‘an excessive amount of water’, corresponding to storms and floods; ‘too little water’, corresponding to droughts and groundwater shortage; and ‘too soiled water’, corresponding to polluted ingesting water.

Ambassadors of the Conference co-hosts, Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, and Jonibek Ismoil Hikmat, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Tajikistan to the UN, spoke in regards to the points at stake and mentioned how the world can unite for water action.  

This interview has been edited for size and readability. 

UN News: Why is water a difficulty so vital to your nation and the remainder of the world?  

Yoka Brandt: For us, water is, has all the time been, and can all the time stay a precedence concern. Our nation, with its low-lying river delta on the North Sea and small islands within the Caribbean, was fairly actually formed by water. Over the previous centuries, we now have gained a variety of expertise in dealing and dwelling with water. And like others, we constantly face new challenges, corresponding to droughts and floods, and the results of a rising sea-level each in Europe and the Caribbean. 

Despite these challenges, water is usually a convener and connector, and, if managed effectively, even a catalyst for fairness, prosperity and sustainability. More than 900 years in the past, our nation acknowledged the capability of water to be a platform to carry us collectively throughout divides, vested pursuits and throughout the borders and obstacles we created. This was institutionalized by way of our water governance mannequin and cooperation with regional water authorities. Water safety has been firmly embedded in our legal guidelines, insurance policies and budgets. And we proceed to discover with others new avenues and approaches on put together and revalue water for the advantage of all and for our planet. 

Jonibek Hikmat: Water is near our coronary heart. Tajikistan is a mountainous nation blessed with considerable water sources. For over 20 years, it has been actively championing this noble trigger by way of its water-related initiatives. To date, our Government has initiated eight water-related UN General Assembly resolutions. Our international initiatives on freshwater, worldwide cooperation, water for all times, and now water for sustainable improvement have been contributing immensely to advancing water-related targets. Indeed, partnership and cooperation are two nice recipes for our success on this journey, which introduced each the upstream and downstream international locations as co-hosts to steer this vital and bold Conference. 

UN News: Is the world on monitor to attain internationally agreed water-related targets by 2030? 

Jonibek Hikmat: The progress on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 and different Goals are lagging as a result of influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, local weather crises and conflicts. We should work as much as 4 occasions sooner to get on monitor to fulfill SDG 6 – to make sure availability and sustainable administration of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The Water Conference is an efficient alternative for all of us to overview and assess the progress achieved and the gaps and constraints we confronted within the implementation of those targets. It can be a very good alternative to strengthen cooperation and partnership to catalyze and speed up water actions. 

Accelerated action is needed to ensure safe drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene for all.

UN News: In your imaginative and prescient assertion for the Conference, you described water as a “dealmaker” for a extra sustainable and inclusive world. Can you clarify the linkages between water and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals?  

Yoka Brandt: Without water, there isn’t a life. Water is prime to our each day lives and has direct linkages with well being, local weather, financial improvement and so forth. Water shortage undermines meals and well being safety, and negatively impacts our power provide and our local weather targets. Too a lot water makes our communities face storms, rain and floods. And air pollution and lack of entry to secure ingesting water, sanitation and hygiene services severely hamper alternatives, particularly for girls and women, and places lives in danger. Finding options for water can due to this fact make a considerable contribution in the direction of attaining all of the SDGs. 

Water hyperlinks all of the grave challenges of our time, from meals and power safety to well being and local weather change. Last 12 months’s floods, in Pakistan and Nigeria, or the big droughts and bushfires within the Amazon rainforest and Australia are a sobering reminder of water’s energy to show lives the other way up and threaten our well being, our security, our meals, and our dwelling setting. The COVID-19 pandemic has additionally reminded us that lack of entry to secure water and hygiene and sanitation services is creating unprecedented dangers and vulnerabilities, with girls and women not having the chance to equally take part in society. 

A flooded area of Anambra State, Nigeria on 28 October, 2022

UN News: What are the primary expectations for the Conference?  

Yoka Brandt: We want a Paris-moment for water. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres lately said, we have to act decisively earlier than it’s too late. And we have to act with transformative commitments. This is what we goal to do on the Water Conference as a result of we want extra partnerships, extra investments and extra motion. We want a Water Action Agenda stuffed with daring commitments to speed up implementation of the Water Action Decade and the 2030 Agenda

Jonibek Hikmat: A profitable Conference have to be inclusive each by way of the method and the outcomes, leaving nobody behind, with sturdy participation from the worldwide South and throughout stakeholder teams corresponding to girls, youth and indigenous teams. A profitable Conference should even be cross-sectoral, mobilizing all different sectors to enhance the way in which they handle and make the most of water sources. A profitable Conference have to be action-oriented. On 24 March, we’ll current a Water Action Agenda, stuffed with transformative and game-changing commitments that may actually speed up progress in the direction of the water-related targets. We don’t want a Conference with daring statements. We want a Conference with daring commitments, and the boldness to place these commitments into motion. We want commitments from Governments, civil society and the non-public sector from everywhere in the world.

A young boy collects what little water he can from a dried up river due to severe drought in Dollow, Somalia.

UN News: What is required to make sure a water-secure world for all?  

Yoka Brandt: Business as typical just isn’t ample to succeed in the SDGs for water, water associated targets and international water safety. In the run as much as the Conference, Governments, the UN, civil society organizations, companies, buyers, native communities, youth and so many different stakeholders are becoming a member of fingers to make a distinction by initiating commitments for the Water Action Agenda. As a UN Member State, we’re additionally stepping up our nationwide and worldwide efforts. For instance, we initiated the Global Commission on the Economics of Water that can have a look at new insurance policies, approaches and collaboration that transcend conventional financial considering to transform how we perceive, worth and handle water as a standard good. We may also put money into higher knowledge to enhance our responses to water associated disasters, we’ll improve entry to water and sanitation to succeed in these left behind, and we’ll make investments extra in options to deal with local weather change, starvation and biodiversity loss.  

Jonibek Hikmat: We initiated each worldwide Decades ‘Water for Life’, 2002-2015 and ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018-2028. We additionally launched the Dushanbe Water Process – biennial worldwide conferences on water. The second such convention held in our nation in June 2022 adopted the Dushanbe Declaration, which incorporates vital messages to unite international efforts, make new commitments, and intensify and speed up actions and partnerships to attain the targets of the Water Action Decade

Glaciers in Chile and Argentina have retreated significantly over the last two decades.

UN News: What is the position of youth in addressing water-related challenges?  

Yoka Brandt: The Water Conference supplies a singular alternative to unite the world for water. We goal to carry everybody collectively, and have all completely different voices heard. Youth play a vital half on this. Their voices, concepts and options are essential for fixing in the present day’s water-related challenges. The co-hosts are totally dedicated to incorporate youth in your entire course of: from preparation to follow-up.  

UN News: With the UN’s SDG Summit in sight for September 2023 and the Summit of the Future in 2024, what are the subsequent steps to advance the worldwide water agenda after the Water Conference?  

Jonibek Hikmat: The Water Action Agenda is a method to an finish, not an finish in itself. We wish to use current buildings as a lot as attainable, each by way of implementation and monitoring and reporting. Therefore, follow-up of those commitments ought to be embedded into current buildings, such because the SDG Summit in September and the Summit of the Future in 2024. 



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