Experts Discuss Options for Stand-alone Water SDG

United Nations14 June 2013: A UN consultation on water-related sustainable development goals highlighted the potential for a new “water in development” narrative that will promote water as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

The Expert Consultation on Water SDGs, organized by the UN Office of Sustainable Development (UNOSD) from 13-14 June 2013, in Incheon, Republic of Korea, discussed an ongoing study by UNOSD, the Institute for Water, Environment and Health of the UN University (INWEH-UNU) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), titled 'Framing Water within the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Options and Considerations.' Twenty-four representatives of governments, the UN system and international organizations took part in the consultation.

Participants recognized the importance of: monitoring and reporting systems to assess progress and adjust policy and practice with regard to water issues; finding new sources of financing beyond official development aid; and integrating water with other sectoral goals as well as ensuring that the three dimensions of sustainable development are integrated within a water goal.

The study, which will be concluded shortly, so far has highlighted the need to: connect a water SDG with climate change issues such as drought and floods; prioritize public education and advocacy on water issues; and link water-specific goals with poverty eradication. Participants expressed a preference for a stand-alone water goal that will be linked with other goals and sectors. The consultation concluded with a call for the post-2015 water agenda to emphasize poverty eradication linkages.

The final report of the study will be launched at the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in September 2013. It aims to contribute to discussion by governments on the possible scope of a water SDG, and the resources that would be needed for implementation. The study will inform the work of the UN Task Team on the post-2015 development agenda (UNTT) and the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs. [Meeting Report] [UNOSD Webpage on Water Study]