On 22 March 2019, the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) co-organised the World Water Day 2019 Symposium — The World’s Water in the Era of the SDGs, jointly with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Tokyo. The symposium brought together experts on water and human rights to consider how to achieve sustainable development in water and sanitation while leaving no-one behind — a premise central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The symposium was attended by his Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Japan, and featured prominent speakers, including former President of Chile and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Government of Japan, Shozo Kudo.
In his opening remarks, UNU Rector David Malone introduced UNU’s work on water and sanitation. Mr Kudo explained recent trends in water disasters and droughts, and outlined measures taken by the Government of Japan such as the 2014 Basic Law on Water Circulation. Ms. Bachelet underlined that water was a human right, and that a failure to deliver sustainable development would mean a failure to deliver human rights.
UNU Senior Vice-Rector Taikan Oki delivered a keynote speech focusing on lessons learned from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal for drinking water. Rio Hada of OHCHR introduced key messages from the newly published World Water Development Report 2019, which discusses access to water leaving no one behind. This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by UNIC Tokyo Director, Kaoru Nemoto, featuring experts from the University of Tokyo, UNICEF, Plan International, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The symposium concluded with a presentation from Kumamoto City on its plan to host an Asia-Pacific Water Summit in 2020, and closing remarks from UNU-IAS director Kazuhiko Takemoto.
For more, see the event report on the UNU-IAS website.