On Wednesday, 10 August, the Government of Tajikistan unveiled a proposal for a new UN International Decade for Action on “Water for Sustainable Development”. The proposal, part of the Call for Action adopted at the High-Level Symposium on SDG6 and Targets (9–11 August 2016, in Dushanbe) will be brought before the next session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016.
The Dushanbe Symposium, organised by the Government of Tajikistan and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), was attended by representatives of 90 national governments and 50 international and civil society organisations. UN organisations actively involved in the symposium included UN DESA; the World Bank; United Nations Development Programme; United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; and United Nations University (UNU).
Representing UNU on invitation from the Government of Tajikistan, the UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) joined forces with UN DESA to organise a session on “Improve Water Quality by Reducing Pollution”. To discuss SDG target 6.3, UNU-FLORES Director Reza Ardakanian was joined by representatives of the Ministry of Health, Republic of Moldova; Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Egypt; World Health Organization Country Office in Tajikistan; and Ministry of Water Resources, People’s Republic of China. The session was co-chaired by Mr. Kai Sauer, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations in New York, and Ms. Nchedi Sophia Maphokga-Moripe, Chief Director, Global Cooperation and Strategic Partnerships, Department of Water and Sanitation, South Africa.
Water security and water infrastructure are fundamental to many of the development challenges that we face; eradicating hunger and poverty, for example, will heavily depend on our ability to address the “water issue”. In an article for The Conversation, UNU-FLORES Director Ardakanian, discusses the call for action, arguing that the initiative for a new International Decade for Action could be a valuable mechanism for keeping water on the table (both literally and figuratively) in the coming years.
The goal of the previous UN International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015, was to raise the profile of water in the global agenda and to focus the world’s attention on the groundbreaking, lifesaving, empowering work done by those implementing water programmes and projects.