World Water Day Highlights Wastewater, Security and Risk
22 March 2017: UN agencies and partners around the world called for urgent attention to water security threats and highlighted the need to treat wastewater as a valuable resource, as they marked World Water Day on the theme of ‘Wastewater’.
UN-Water, the UN inter-agency coordination mechanism for freshwater-related issues, launched its annual World Water Development Report at a three-day water summit and expo in Durban, South Africa from 22-24 March, jointly hosted with the Government of South Africa.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.3 calls for halving the proportion of global untreated wastewater.
The report recommends a range of policy instruments, based on empirical studies of diffuse pollution.
The UN High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) unveiled its ‘Access to water and sanitation for 10 billion people’ initiative at the Durban water summit and expo.
In its statement, the HLPW welcomed the UN General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution calling for a new International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development from 2018-2028 (A/RES/71/222).
In a blog post, Astrid Hillers of the GEF International Waters team notes that water crises have consistently been among the top five global risks identified in the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual risk reports, as drought, over-exploitation and desertification contribute to local conflicts and can cause large-scale displacement and regional instability.
In support of local authorities, UN-Habitat highlighted its cooperation with the Government of Tanzania in the large slum settlement of Mwanza, to improve living conditions for residents, including access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Léo Heller, UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, issued a statement on World Water Day calling for development cooperation to focus on capacity building activities that support local authorities in their responsibility to provide water and sanitation services.
[UN World Water Day Website] [UN Press Release on Wastewater] [World Water Development Report Web Page] [UN-Water Report: ‘Wastewater: The Untapped Resource’] [UNESCO Press Release on Wastewater Report] [UNESCO Web Page on World Water Development Reports] [World Water Day Summit & Expo] [Global Citizen Campaign] [WSSCC Press Release] [WSSCC Web Page on Strategic Plan] [WSSCC Strategic Plan 2017-2020] [OECD Report: ‘Diffuse Pollution, Degraded Waters: Emerging Policy Solutions’] [World Water Council Press Release] [World Bank Press Release] [World Bank Blog Post on WASH PD] [Water Data Challenge Press Release] [GEF Blog Post] [SIWI Press Release] [Peter Thomson Statement on Special Event Priority Actions for Water and Disasters in the Next Decade] [Peter Thomson Statement on Improving Integration and Coordination of the Work of the UN on the Water-related Goals and Targets] [Event Programme: Improving the Integration and Coordination of the Work of the UN on the Water-related Goals and Targets] [UNICEF Press Release] [UNICEF Report on ‘Thirsting for a Future: Water and Children in a Changing Climate’] [HLPW Joint Statement] [UN-Habitat Press Release] [UCLG Statement] [UN Press Release on Statement by UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation]