The United Nations Resolution 71/222 declaring the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028 was adopted in 2016. This initiative was first proposed by The Founder of peace and national unity, Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon in 2015, during the 7th World Water Forum in Daegu, Korea. Considering the importance of water in the global agenda for achieving the SDGs, this initiative of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan received the full support of the global community (the UN resolution was adopted by consensus), and once again presented the President of Tajikistan as a world leader in promoting water issues at the international level.
In December 2018, UNGA Resolution 73/226, decided to convene United Nations on the Midterm Comprehensive Review Conference to implement the goals of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” abbreviated as the 2023 UN Water Conference in New York from 22 to 24 March 2023.
In December 2020, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 75/212 on the modalities of the UN 2023 Water Conference.
According to this resolution, the UN 2023 Water Conference will be held from 22 to 24 March 2023 in New York at UN Headquarters. The Conference is considered historic because it is the second UN Conference devoted to water issues in the last 50 years. The first Conference was held in 1977 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
It is an honor for the Republic of Tajikistan to co-chair such a great and historic event, which is also a result of the initiatives and efforts of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, the H.E. Emomali Rahmon, to promote global water processes.
According to the UN rules for holding such conferences, two countries are selected as co-chair countries: one from a developed country and one from a developing country. The co-chairs of the UN 2023 Water Conference are the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The UN Department of Economic and Social Cooperation, with the support of the UN Water Agency, serves as the secretariat of the Conference.
The goals of the Conference are to encourage the international community to understand the value of water, to manage and use it wisely, and to make commitments to prevent and address water sector problems.
The Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and UN-Water, aim to make the Conference a “watershed moment” for the world on water issues.
Through the provision of appropriate modalities to governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and others, the UN 2023 Water Conference in is expected to be a turning point for the world to support follow-up actions to achieve international water-related goals, including those of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Both the preparatory process and the Conference itself are aimed at voluntary commitments that can influence the shaping of the precise agenda for the second half of the Decade and beyond 2030, while advancing the post-2030 vision. The Conference will create the conditions for the international community to better understand and value water, take joint action for wise water management, take serious action and sign agreements to achieve water goals and targets.
The conference and its preparation process are organized based on the following three principles:
Inclusiveness: both in terms of the Conference process (ensuring vertical and horizontal inclusiveness) and in terms of (b) the results (leaving no one behind).
Action-oriented: The Conference aims to lead to concrete results through concrete actions and plans on the ground.
Cross-sectoral: The Conference should mobilize all other sectors to improve the way they manage and utilize water resources. These sectors need to bring their plans and actions to the
The program of the Conference includes plenary sessions, interactive dialogues, formal meetings, side events, special events, New York Water Week, cultural events, and in preparation, there are regional and global meetings and other water-related international events.
Currently, the preparatory process for the UN 2023 Water Conference has developed and adopted several key documents that form the main foundation for improving the preparatory process and the Conference itself, including: Concept Note for the UN 2023 Water Conference Preparatory Process, Vision Statement by the Co-Chairs of the UN 2023 Water Conference, Water Action Agenda, Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, Communication Strategy, etc.
On 25 October 2022, within the framework of the UN General Assembly Meeting in New York, after all the aspects were discussed and agreed upon, five themes of interactive dialogues of the Conference were approved:
- Water for Health: Access to safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation (SDG 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 17);
2. Water for Sustainable Development: Valuing Water, Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Sustainable Economic and Urban Development (SDG 6.3, 6.4, 6.5 and SDGs 2, 8, 9, 11, 12);
- Water for Climate, Resilience and Environment: Source to Sea, Biodiversity, Climate, Resilience and DRR (SDGs 6.5, 6.6, 7, 11.5, 13, 14, 15)
- Water for cooperation: Transboundary and International Water Cooperation, Cross Sectoral Cooperation, including Scientific Cooperation, and Water Across the 2030 Agenda (SDG 6.5, 6.b and SDGs 16, 17)
- Water Action Decade: Accelerating the implementation of the objectives of the Decade, including through the UN Secretary-General’s Action Plan
During the Conference, the Co-Chair countries, UN member states, its agencies, regional and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society, scientific and educational institutions, the private sector, charitable organizations and all participants are expected to announce their commitments in the field of water resources
This grand and historic event is expected to be successful, effective and fruitful and will further strengthen Tajikistan’s position and reputation as a leading young country on water and climate issues at regional and global levels.