October 06, 2017
New York: Organized by the Permanent Missions of Canada, Ecuador, Japan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Tajikistan, as well as UNDESA, UNDP, UNESCO-WAPP and UN-Water, the event took place in the presence of the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, champion of the International Decade, aiming to build support and momentum for the implementation of water related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
President Rahmon called for "continued cooperation and mobilization of all resources for holistic measures" to drive forward the SDGs, including transborder cooperation and women's Empowerment. "This is the importance of this International Decade."
The President of the General Assembly, Lajcak said "water is essential for a sustainable life on a sustainable planet and for decent lives."
“Water is the common denominator of many global challenges, in health, food, energy,” said the Director-General. “It can be the common solution also, but this requires deeper commitment. This is why water stands at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.”
"Water is vital for sustainable development but also for peace," said Minister Safadi of Jordan. "Water could be the cause of war, but could also be the cause of peace… the peace that we all deserve."
Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu spoke of water "as a security issue for many people around the world. We have to adapt as challenges of climate change and sea levels continue to rise".
The Director-General highlighted that water cooperation is about fighting poverty, saving children from disease, allowing girls to go to school instead of walking for kilometres to fetch water. She underscored UNESCO’s work through its ‘water family’, which includes a global network of 36 water-related centres and 46 water-related Chairs, including the IHE-Institute for Water Education.
Minister Hussen of Canada spoke of his government's new feminist aid policy, to craft new solutions, because "water is undervalued and under threat."
“Fundamentally, water is about peace, between States and across regions. There is enough freshwater in the world – our goals are to share it sustainably, to link science more tightly with policy, and this is our message throughout the International Decade,” concluded Irina Bokova.