In 2017, UN Member States announced the Water Action Decade to strengthen the focus on water and its interconnectedness to ecosystems, economic development and human wellbeing. With its start in 2018, efforts towards meeting water-related challenges, including limited access to safe water and sanitation as agreed upon by UN Member States in Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) of the Agenda 2030, should be accelerated.
To reach SDG 6, actions on full diversity of targets from access to drinking water and sanitation, water-use efficiency, integrated water resources management, transboundary cooperation, protection to the restoration of water-related ecosystems are urgently required. However, this is not only relevant for the achievement of SDG 6 itself, but for almost all of the 17 SDGs. Many are implicitly or explicitly related to water like Agriculture (SDGs 2, 12), Health (SDG 3) and Energy (SDG 7).
Population growth, urbanisation and changing consumption patterns present additional demands of the already scarce resource. The impact of climate change (SDG 13) furthermore exacerbates risk of droughts and floods.
The increasing pressures on water resources and ecosystems (SDGs 14,15) worldwide leaves no time to hesitate but to cooperate (SDG 17). But focusing on water alone will not bring us back on track. Therefore, cross-sectoral ambition is key to bring sectors together and translate synergies into action. The policy messages developed in the Water Dialogues’ process focus on the five key accelerators to reach SDG 6: Governance, Optimised Financing, Innovation, Capacity Building, and Improved Data and Information. The Water Dialogues’ process is part of the German government’s efforts to overcome global water challenges and accelerate the implementation of SDG 6. In view of 2023, it presents a unique opportunity to turn the tide on achieving SDG 6.