Second International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028
Worldwide pressure on water resources is rising, while actions for their sustainable management and use are lagging behind. Meeting the water needs of a growing population and dealing with water-intensive consumption patterns, as well as increasing precipitation variability and water pollution are key factors undermining the achievement of poverty eradication and sustainable development. Furthermore, climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, which impose huge social and economic costs around the world.
Today per capita freshwater availability is seriously diminishing. Over the past four decades, it dropped by one-third. According to UN-Water’s World Water Development Report (2018), by 2050, between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion people out of 9 billion will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion, up from 1.2 billion today. At the same time, climate change is significantly modifying the hydrological cycle, which can have extremely adverse effects on livelihoods, as well as demographic and migration patterns.
Depletion and degradation of freshwater supplies, driven by population growth and mobility, impacts of economic development and lifestyle changes and unsustainable production and consumption patterns can only be reversed by deliberate and holistic interventions. Among the intervention areas, solving the problem of the poor management and weak governance of water is a top priority. Water resources and water services are compromised due to a lack of appropriate water institutions, inadequate capacity and investments, ambiguous jurisdictions, overlapping functions, fragmented institutional structures and lack of necessary infrastructure. Despite huge progress over the past thirty years in water-related science and technology, the capacity to implement these solutions, particularly in developing countries, is lagging behind.
Water is a powerful tool for cooperation and dialogue in support of sustainable development and safer societies. However, there is a need for more effective, integrated and coordinated actions, coupled with strong political will. All stakeholders, including those in government, international organizations, the private sector, civil society and academia, should be engaged, paying special attention to the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable people, leaving no one behind.
Mobilizing political will and commitments to address water issues worldwide plays a crucial role. Equally important are forward-thinking and a willingness to promote innovative ways to approach local, national, regional and international water cooperation.
Open discussions of the issues shaping our water resources today and inclusive participation in decision-making can stimulate cooperative solutions and actions. Promoting a culture of consultation and dialogue, increasing participatory engagement and partnership will help to deliver benefits for all.
In December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly declared the period 2018-2028 as an International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, which aims at supporting sustainable development and integrated management of water resources, while promoting cooperation and partnerships to support achieving internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
On 22 March 2018, the United Nations Secretary General’s Plan for the Water Action Decade was released during a High-level Launch Event, convened by the President of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. The plan outlines current activities and capabilities of the UN system and international organizations, and the operational setup planned to support Member States in the implementation of the Decade.
In this connection, the Government of Tajikistan, committed to continue providing a platform for policy dialogue, partnership and action, is organizing, with the support of the United Nations and other partners, high-level international conferences throughout the Water Action Decade, thus establishing “Dushanbe Water Process”. The biennial conferences under the Dushanbe Water Process provide timely and valuable opportunities to create an enabling environment and platform for promotion of action, partnership and policy dialogue, review the implementation of the Decade, as well as to promote interlinkages with and contribute to other relevant processes. In particular, the Dushanbe Process continues to support assessment of the progress on water-related SDGs, linking it to the Water Action Decade.
The First High-level International Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028, was held in Dushanbe on 20-21 June 2018. The outcomes of the Conference included recommendations to the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that took place in 2018, for its in-depth review of the implementation of SDG 6.
In the Final Declaration of the First Dushanbe Conference, participants indicated that the theme of the Second Water Action Decade Conference shall be “Catalyzing water action and partnership at the local, national, regional and global levels” to achieve the goals of the Water Action Decade and water-related SDGs and targets.
In this regard, the Government of Tajikistan will host in cooperation with the United Nations and other partners from 18 to 20 June 2020 a Second High-level International Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028” entitled “Catalyzing water action and partnership at the local, national, regional and global levels”. The conference will be co-chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
The Second Water Action Decade Conference will focus on the ways how governments, the United Nations and its entities, other international and regional organizations, international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society organizations, communities and local governments can catalyze water action and partnership to contribute to the implementation of water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the New Urban Agenda at all levels.
In particular, the Conference will focus on:
- Accelerating the implementation of internationally agreed water-related goals and targets at the regional and national level;
- Promoting science-based solutions and tools, including data, technologies and innovations;
- Improving capacity building, knowledge and education through sharing information and best practices;
- showcasing successful partnerships, advocacy and networking actions by stakeholders at all levels;
- strengthening cooperation at different levels by promoting dialogue, partnership and cross-sectoral approaches.
Moreover, the Conference will address the critical interlinkages between water and climate change in the context of water resources management as a key factor for climate adaptation and mitigation.
The conference will also provide an opportunity for sharing progress and constraints in the implementation of the actions and partnerships, initiated by governments and other stakeholders within the Water Action Decade, including the First Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference. Speakers and panelists are requested to showcase real action on the ground.
In continuity with the previous conference, this Conference will produce a final declaration and a co-chair’s summary, as well as a compendium of actions, partnerships and other initiatives, committed during the Conference.
The outcomes of the Conference will be presented to the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2020 and other relevant fora.
The Conference is multi-stakeholder in nature and will bring together different stakeholders and actors involved in the implementation of water-related goals and targets.
The high-level representatives of governments, the United Nations entities, other international and regional organizations, international financial institutions, businesses, river basin authorities, local governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, academia and the media are invited to participate in the Conference. National delegations are encouraged to also include representatives of subnational authorities among their members.
To provide an opportunity for the promotion of integrated approaches and partnerships, participation of representatives from different sectors is encouraged, including water, finance, energy, industry, health, education, urban planning, rural development, agriculture, climate and the environment.
The Conference program includes opening and closing ceremonies, two plenary sessions, several thematic and interactive action and partnership panels, an exhibition, as well as pre-conference forums and side-events.
Pre-Conference forums include special events convened by different stakeholder on 17 June 2020 to provide engagement of youth, women, civil society organizations, local governments, etc.
The conference will provide an opportunity for interested delegations to organize side-events on relevant matters/issues on the sidelines of the pre-conference forums and Conference.
The Conference is organized by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan with the support of the United Nations and other partners.
The Government of Tajikistan has established a National Organizing Committee under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
To facilitate preparation to the Conference, as well as to develop a comprehensive program and outcome documents of the Conference, an International Advisory Committee (IAC), involving the representatives of the United Nations and its entities, partner countries, international and regional financial institutions, river basin organizations, NGOs, the private sector and other stakeholders has been established.
The Steering Committee of the Group of Friends of Water in New York will be engaged in the preparation to the Conference through its regular meetings, convened by Permanent Missions to the United Nations.
Dates and venu
The Conference will be held from 18 to 20 June 2020 at Kokhi Somon, Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan.
Pre-conference events and side-events will be held one day prior to the Conference.
Participants will be invited to participate in a tour/field trip on 20 June 2020 to be acquainted with examples of integrated and sustainable water resources management in Tajikistan.
The working languages of the Conference are English and Russian (simultaneous translation will be provided). Translation into other UN official languages will be provided to the possible extent..