Blog.Oct 27, 2022

SIWI engages as the world meets to talk water

SIWI actively engaged in the President of the General Assembly’s (PGA) stakeholder consultation and preparatory meeting ahead of the UN 2023 Water Conference 24 and 25 October.

The first day focused on game changers – ideas to move the needle and make change happen. An inspiring and action-oriented atmosphere, where stakeholders could give their input from wherever they were joining the consultation. The second day was a preparatory meeting which gave Member States the opportunity to give input with many offering to co-chair the interactive dialogues at the conference – emphasising the broad nature of water.

Forty-five years after the first and only UN conference on water and freshwater ecosystems have further degraded. We are witnessing unprecedented biodiversity loss, we are still struggling to achieve universal access to water and sanitation and the climate crisis is worsening with many of its effects felt through water

That is why SIWI is committed to making the UN 2023 Water Conference a success for people and planet.

The themes for the interactive dialogues for UN 2023 Water Conference were agreed to by the convened Member States at the PGA’s event:

  • Water for Health – Access to WASH, including Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation (SDG 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 17)
  • 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 Disaster Risk Reduction (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 (SDG6.5, 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


Read SIWI’s 10 messages to the Conference

10 messages to the UN 2023 Water Conference
Digital illustration of the Earth floating in water. A sun ray lighting the glob from behind
Photo: Mahmoud Taieb / Shutterstock

SIWI’s statement

SIWI’s Josh Newton delivered the following statement during the plenary discussion on 25 October, 2022:

“Thank you, Your Excellency, for the opportunity to share our views on the upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference. And thank you to the honorable co-hosts, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. We have heard a lot of mention here today about the last UN Water Conference in Mar del Plata. If you haven’t already, I would highly encourage you all to read the outcomes of the conference in 1977. They are incredible on a few levels. On one side, the depth and breadth of the content and recommendations are truly impressive. It was a roadmap for the future.

What is also incredible is much of what is recommended is still applicable today, 45 years later. How is that possible? Especially as freshwater ecosystems degrade further, we are witnessing unprecedented biodiversity loss and are still struggling to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.

It’s gotten so bad, actually, that we are sitting here today preparing for only the 2nd ever UN conference on water, because the issues are THAT pressing now. We need to do better, especially with the outcome, the Water Action Agenda, after the conference to ensure its implementation. SIWI is here to offer one of its platforms, World Water Week, to help in this regard.

We are really concerned that this conference will be more talk. A lot of us here are afraid of that. That we’ll talk about action, but not actually act. We have to change our mindset to one of action only, from small contributions to gamechangers. SIWI is ready to engage, and actively contribute to this process, especially when it comes to governance, source to sea, transboundary water cooperation, WASH resilience, and making sure that we are as inclusive as possible, meaning gender equality and youth and Indigenous Peoples at the forefront of our future actions.

Thank you, Mr. President”