Five accelerators for safe water and sanitation

A “global failure with far-reaching implications” is how the President of the UN General Assembly described the global water crisis at the UN High-level Meeting in March this year. How far-reaching the consequences would be, if we failed to reach SDG 6 by 2030, becomes clear when understanding that the achievement of almost all other SDGs is highly dependent on water. Healthy ecosystems, resilient food production, productive industries and global health are only some examples. What can be done to defeat the global water crisis and foster development?

To act upon the human right to water and sanitation and to increase international efforts to achieve SDG 6 by 2030, the International Decade for Action on “Water for Sustainable Development” was launched in 2018 and within it, UN-Water’s SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework. It is a unifying initiative which identifies five accelerators that can help governments to deliver faster results for SDG 6 at an increased scale: Financing, data and information, capacity development, governance and innovation. This is where the BMU-initiated Water Dialogues for Results stepped in to shed light on the cross-sectoral nature of the water-related Goals and targets, enriching the preparatory process with key messages and action-oriented recommendations towards the Mid-term Review 2023. The five key messages emphasize that only an approach beyond the silo thinking can lead to safe water and sanitation for all: 

Financing for Acceleration – A new paradigm

Governments, national and international financial institutions and multilateral actors need to improve targeting and effective use of existing funding, mobilize domestic resources, and attract additional investment from private and public sources.

Data for Acceleration – Data-based decision-making

Decision-makers (from household to policy level) need access and to be enabled to employ quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data for analysis, planning and implementation of effective cross-sectoral action in order to leave no one behind.

Capacity for Acceleration – An inclusive approach

Capacity development needs to holistically transfer knowledge beyond training to foster cross-sectoral decision-making, planning and implementation, intensifying horizontal and vertical cooperation on all levels.

Governance for Acceleration – A cross-sectoral, cooperative, good water governance approach

Growing water demands in view of increased water uncertainty calls for improved vertical and horizontal governance and intensified cooperation among stakeholders, sectors and countries.

Innovation for Acceleration – A transformative pathway

Decision-makers need to combine traditional knowledge with modern technology and innovative methods by involving multiple stakeholders to increase efficiency of water use and ensure sustainable freshwater supplies, especially in water-stressed and transboundary regions.

A common approach for SDG 6

Governments and the civil society around the world need to embark on those actions on local, regional, national, multilateral and UN level and, above all, understand the unique opportunities to create synergies between sectors on all levels of governance to make progress on SDG 6. Only by transforming dialogue into results can the global water crisis be defeated!

The complete policy recommendations that resulted from the Water Dialogues for Results can be found here