SIWI at the High-Level Political Forum

Water is key to the success of all 17 SDGs that aim to transform our world into the future we want. At this year’s High-Level Political Forum, SIWI is working to highlight the relevance of water not only within the context of achieving SDG 6, but its importance in reaching all 17 goals.

When looking for solutions, one goal cannot be tackled without taking into consideration how the others are affected. SIWI is working to connect the dots. 

About HLPF: 

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the annual stocktaking on the state of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. It is also the meeting place for UN member states to present voluntary national reports on their SDG implementation. 

The theme of this year’s HLPF is Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”The set of goals to be reviewed is SDG 4 on quality education, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 10 on reduced inequalities, SDG 13 on climate action, SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions and SDG 17 on partnerships for the goals.

SIWI’s role at HLPF: 

Freshwater is essential to all human activity and development and is embedded in all of the sustainable goals – not only SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation. The world needs to accelerate action to reach the targets set in the 2030 Agenda, and resilient water management is one key aspect in achieving the goals. This is the starting point for SIWI’s engagement at HLPF and our work with the 2030 Agenda in general 

Equitable access to water for agricultural production can for example play a key role in achieving SDG 10 on reduced inequalities. For smallholder farmers in rural areas, supplementing watering of crops can make the difference between farming as a mere means of survival and farming as a reliable source of livelihoods. Read more about the connections of water and the SDGs under review in our submission to ECOSOC and our policy brief on Connecting the SDGs through resilient water management.

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SIWI will strive to gather momentum around partnerships and collaboration in relation to water’s interconnecting role. In doing so we will point out the importance of water as a bridging factor between the global agendas and the role of water in climate security.

Thursday 11 July 

Partner side event: Water, crucial to achieve the SDGs under review at the HLPF 2019 | 13:15 – 14:45, United Nations Plaza, New York, Auditorium

Full info

SIWI co-sponsored side event: “From Grounded Policy, Through Embodied Practice, To Broad Participation:  The SDGs in Action” | 18:30 – 20:00, room C1

Friday 12 July 

Side event: Deep dive: Water and climate change | 13:15 – 14:25 Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters New York. (AGWA, where SIWI is co-chair, is one of the main authors of the policy brief that will be presented during this event.)

Full info

16 July  

Partner side event: “The 2030 Agenda at a crossroad – How do we ensure an integrated approach in tackling climate-related security risks, conflict and inequality?” organized by The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institue (SIPRI) | 18:30-20:00, room CR1

19 July 

Jennifer Jun will be delivering an oral statement to the 2019 ECOSOC High-level segment. Please keep in mind that at a general debate of any UN intergovernmental body, Member States and Intergovernmental Organizations speak first. NGOs, Major groups and other stakeholders will deliver their statements on Friday July 19 in the Trusteeship Council between 10 AM and 1 PM.

For all events at HLPF related to water, visit: https://www.unwater.org/high-level-political-forum-sustainable-development-2019/

"SIWI has released a policy brief sharing our view on the status of SDGs 4, 8, 10,13 and 16 from a water perspective and offers policy recommendations to reach the goals in a water wise way".

The 2030 Agenda is a complex and intertwined framework with a diverse set of goals and targets. However, when looking for solutions, individual goals cannot be tackled in an isolated manner. The Agenda’s achievement can be enhanced when taking into consideration other goals, hence avoiding trade-offs.

One trait that is common to most of the SDGs’ goals and targets, is their dependence upon sustainable water resources. Water is the blue thread that can connect and lend coherence to the 2030 Agenda and serve as a link also to other global processes such as the Paris Agreement. We can make actionable and measurable strides in reducing poverty, inequality, hunger, aquatic and terrestrial environmental degradation, economic disparity and injustice by:

  • ensuring equitable access to clean, reliable water resources for both humans and nature;
  • improving the effectiveness, fairness and transparency of water governance from the local to transboundary level;
  • climate-proofing our water management tools and approaches;
  • recognizing water’s value when it comes to social, environmental and economic prosperity; and
  • taking a human-rights based approach to water and ensuring that women, youth, indigenous populations and vulnerable groups are empowered to take action and become right holders as well as duty bearers.

Read the full policy brief with recommendations here.

Convene actors, generate ideas, share knowledge, call for action

In preparation for the HLPF and other high-level meetings, SIWI has engaged with a number of stakeholders and actors to help shape a water wise agenda. 

SIWI has a consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that hosts the HLPF and has contributed to the preparation of the meeting with input to HLPF as well as advising the Swedish Government in the development of their positions ahead of HLPF.

Read the input here.

The following outlines how wise water management can enable the implementation of the SDGs under review at 2019 HLPF.

SDG 4 Quality education

There are many water-related barriers to education, including how women and children are often forced to spend hours collecting water and the lack of sanitation services at school. Furthermore, extreme water events such as floods and drought keep children out of classrooms.

SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth

Sustainable economic growth is not possible without the sustainable use of natural resources. Global freshwater resources are finite and poor water governance has detrimental impacts on economic productivity and the availability of decent work.

SDG 10 Reduced inequalities

It is now universally accepted that water is an essential natural resource upon which nearly all social and economic activities and ecosystem functions depend. Sustainable development and human rights perspectives both call for reductions in inequities and tackling disparities in access to WASH services as access to clean water and sanitation is a universal human right.

SDG 13 Climate action

People and nature alike experience climate change primarily through impacts to the water cycle. Changes to the frequency, timing and magnitude of hydrologic events as a result of increasing temperatures are becoming the new normal. The world is at risk of experiencing a continuous rise in extreme weather events, which could destroy any developments low-income countries have made over that last decades. In 2017 alone nearly 100 million people were directly affected by natural disasters, 78 per cent of which were the result of floods, storms or drought.

SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

Water is a resource shared by all and water cooperation can be an important factor in strengthening political stability and peace. At the international level, established water cooperation systems in shared river basins can be a critical feature of international cooperation and of the pursuit for solutions to transboundary problems.

Read our latest policy brief “Water Diplomacy: Facilitating dialogue”

SDG 17 Partnerships for the goals

The SDGs can only be reached through partnerships and joint efforts across geographical and societal boundaries. Not least is it important that disadvantaged groups are better represented in decision-making processes. Through the Agenda 2030 process, the UN can provide even greater leadership, guidance and facilitate dialogues between member states and other stakeholders.

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SIWI at HLPF 2018

About HLPF:

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the annual stocktaking on the state of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. It is also the meeting place for UN member states to present voluntary national reports on their SDG implementation.

High on this year’s agenda is SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. In preparation, UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Programme has relseased a SDG 6 synthesis report that comes to one key conclusion: The world is not on track. Read more here >>

SIWI’s role at HLPF:

The world’s delay in reaching its targets for SDG 6 and the insight that basically all SDGs are linked to water, are the starting points for SIWI’s engagement at HLPF and our work with the 2030 Agenda in general.

For example the other SDGs on this year’s agenda, SDG 7 on Energy, SDG 11 on cities, SDG 12 on sustainable production and consumption, SDG 15 on land ecosystems and SDG 17 on global cooperation have obvious effects on water and are themselves dependent on water. Read more about these connections in our latest policy brief, Water: the path to Agenda 2030 implementation.

SIWI’s events at HLPF: 

SIWI will strive to gather momentum around partnerships and collaboration in relation to water’s interconnecting role. In doing so we will point out the importance of water as a bridging factor between the global agendas, such as the Paris Agreement; present how a source-to-sea approach to water governance can help implement the SDGs; and co-host a dialogue between faith based communities and the development and water sectors on achieving SDG 6.

For details on SIWI’s events and how you can attend them download our complete event schedule.

SIWI has released a policy brief sharing our view on the status of SDGs 6, 7, 11 ,12, 15 and 17 from a water perspective and offers policy recommendations to reach the goals in a water wise way.
  • Be transparent! Good water governance is key to achieving all SDGs and requires effective and accountable institutions.
  • Invest in sanitation and human health to fight poverty. Such investments pay for themselves four times over. The current trend of declining international development support must be reversed.
  • Involve disadvantaged groups in decision-making processes. As competition for scarce resources grow fiercer, a human-rights based approach is vital. The ethical implications of the growing water challenges must be discussed, with the role of governance as a central part of the solution.
  • Implement resilience and source-to-sea approaches in both urban and rural planning. Cities can serve as a lab of what countries can do regarding water management.
  • Protect essential water-related ecosystems from further deterioration and overexploitation. Water management should systematically address forest and landscape degradation and incorporate appropriate forest management as natural infrastructure.
  • Boost sustainable Today’s production and consumption patterns are not sustainable; companies need to search for more water efficient solutions. Agriculture and food value chains must also improve the productivity and nutritional value per unit of water consumed.
  • Cooperate! Negotiation and water diplomacy are increasingly important skills, not least for countries that share rivers or other water basins.

Read the full policy brief here>> 

Convene actors, generate ideas, share knowledge, call for action

In preparation for the HLPF and other high-level meetings, SIWI has engaged with a number of stakeholders and actors to help shape a water wise agenda. 

SIWI has a consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that hosts the HLPF and has contributed to the preparation of the meeting with input to HLPF as well as advising the Swedish Government in the development of their positions ahead of HLPF.

SIWI has contributed to the content of the SDG 6 Synthesis report, has given input to the draft ministerial declaration of the HLPF and engaged strongly in the High Level International Conference on Water Cooperation as a key milestone in the lead up to HLPF.

Open letter: Building a resilient future through water

Multi-stakeholder representatives of the water and development community presented an open letter to UN member state representatives, UN agencies and other leading organizations at an event co-organized by the Finnish and the Lebanese permanent representation to the UN in New York in May 2018. Its aim is to build a strong momentum towards the High-Level Political Forum and World Water Week, leading towards a final document that will be shared at the UN General Assembly.

Read the letter by clicking on the image.

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