- Accelerate progress towards ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6).
- Contribute to the achievement of the multiple SDGs that also depend on adequate management of our planet’s water resources.
Pressure on water is rising, and action is urgent. Gaps in access to water supply and sanitation, growing populations, more water-intensive patterns of growth, increasing rainfall variability, and pollution are combining in many places to make water one of the greatest risks to economic progress, poverty eradication and sustainable development. Floods and droughts already impose huge social and economic costs around the world, and climate variability will make water extremes worse.
SDG6, the ‘Water SDG’, calls for progress around water supply, sanitation, water quality, water efficiency and scarcity, integrated water resources management, water and the environment, increased international cooperation, and involvement of communities in the management of water and sanitation. Water is the common currency which links nearly every SDG, and it will be a critical determinant of success in achieving most other SDGs – on energy, cities, health, the environment, disaster risk management, food security, poverty, and climate change among others.
The HLPW’s key message is that the world can no longer take water for granted. Individuals, communities, companies, cities, and countries need to better understand, value, and manage water. The HLPW articulates an agenda at three levels:
- A foundation for action. To take effective action we need to understand the importance of the water we have, and therefore must invest in data; we need to value the water we have, in its social, cultural, economic and environmental dimensions; and we need to strengthen water governance mechanisms so that we can effectively manage it.
- Leading an integrated agenda at the local, country and regional levels. Water flows across political and sectoral boundaries. The Panel therefore calls for an integrated approach, including sustainable and universal access to safe water and sanitation, building more resilient societies and economies, including disaster risk reduction, investing more and more effectively in water-related infrastructure, appreciating the centrality of environmental issues, and building sustainable cities and human settlements.
- Catalyzing change, building partnerships & international cooperation at the global level. The Panel recommends progress in encouraging innovation, promoting partnerships, increasing finance, increasing institutional support, strengthening the global and international water cooperation, and seizing the opportunity to take action with the Water Action Decade before us.