A new Water and Climate Leaders Panel came together for the first time on 3 March to catalyse integrated water and climate action for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Water and Climate Leaders, which include the Presidents of Hungary and Tajikistan as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society and youth, will guide policy development for the Water and Climate Coalition, spearheaded by WMO and other 10 UN Agencies.
The Panel will provide strategic guidance on integrating the water and climate agendas, ensuring effective climate action for adaptation and resilience and maximizing synergies to achieve SDGs 6 (water and sanitation) and 13 (climate). Climate change impacts are affecting water availability and are exacerbating the damages floods and drought cause worldwide.
“The Water and Climate Leaders panel will ensure that we have the right policies in place to address climate that is felt mostly through water,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
Hungarian President Janos Ader said: “The Water and Climate leaders catalyse step changes in implementing an integrated water and climate policy through providing guidance on tangible actions that need to be taken immediately.”
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said: ” Changes in snow and ice are a dangerous threat to the wellbeing of hundreds of millions in the coming decades. We must integrate water and climate policies now.”
The “Water and Climate Leaders” aim to set and pursue an integrated global Water and Climate Agenda in support of national mitigation and adaptation actions.
Key objectives to achieve this are:
- universal and free access to information relevant for life and livelihood
- ability and capacity to act upon this information for all stakeholders
- breaking traditional water, disaster and climate siloes to form integrated understanding and approaches
- regional and intersectoral cooperation to create resilience and to share maximised benefits of water and climate action
- advocate for investing in the most effective solutions
The Water and Climate Leaders event came as the UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 issued a new summary progress update, showing where the world is lagging behind and where accelerated efforts are needed.
It collected the latest available data from nearly 200 countries on the global indicators for SDG 6, which cover various aspects of the water cycle from drinking water and sanitation to wastewater and transboundary cooperation.
The result is the Summary Progress Update 2021 on SDG 6, which provides a clear snapshot of global progress towards each indicator and gives a breakdown of the status and trends at the regional and country level.
The primary aim of this update is to help shape an evidenced-based discussion on acceleration to take place at the upcoming high-level meeting on the “Implementation of the Water-related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda” on 18 March 2021.
In the foreword to the update, Gilbert F. Houngbo, UN-Water Chair and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, said: “Even before COVID struck, the world was off track to meet SDG 6 – the goal of ensuring water and sanitation for all by 2030.”
“This report shows that we need to do more, much more quickly. Making sure that there is water and sanitation for all people, for all purposes, by 2030 will help future-proof global society against the many and varied threats coming down the line.”
“This document will help base decision making on reliable and up-to-date evidence to ensure the greatest possible gains. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of our shared vulnerability and common destiny. Let us ‘build back better’ by ensuring water and sanitation for all by 2030.”
Download the UN-Water SDG 6 Summary Progress Update 2021 report here.