The UN 2023 Water conference being held in New York culminated its first day with acceptance of problems at hand and the need for renewed actions and commitments. The event, co-hosted by the Government of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is the second one at the global forum. The first conference was held nearly five decades ago in Argentina, in 1977.
On the opening day, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, highlighted four key actions to accelerate the water agenda. He spoke about the importance of closing the water management gap, massively investing in water and sanitation systems, focusing on water resilience, and addressing climate change.
According to reports, the discussions indicated progress in global cooperation despite setbacks experienced due to challenges such as the impacts of climate change and the degradation of hydrological systems and water resources. Delegates debated upon challenges around investment in modernisation of water systems; sharing of technological expertise; and advancing equal rights to water and sanitation.
Nations that are facing the brunt of water scarcity highlighted their issues. For instance, Ugandan Minister of Water and Environment said in order to ensure its commitment to the water action agenda, they would resolve to accelerate inclusive access to safely managed water and sanitation services in both rural and urban areas. And they will focus on marginalised groups so that no one is left behind. Bangladesh emphasised on integrated water management, improving water quality and achieving 100 per centage coverage for handwashing by 2030 in his country.
Various countries have announced their commitment towards water. The US has promised investment upto $49 billion for climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure and services in 22 countries. It also plans to allocate $700 million to support 22 countries under its Global Water Strategy. The conference will be a crucial point when it comes to preserving and safeguarding the water resources for the present and future. The UK has announced a new initiative on access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) systems for health, with 18.5 million pounds in funding.