Second International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028
Globally, the pressure on water resources is increasing from rapidly growing demands and climate change. Sustainable management and use of water could reduce some of that pressure, but actions towards improvement of existing practices are lagging. Meeting the water needs of a growing population is largely associated with the need for water to grow food, alongside with access to safe water supply and sanitation being increasingly recognized as an essential element of human capital contributing to public health, which became even more evident in the wake of the COVID-19. Furthermore, climate change is exacerbating water security, by contributing to increasing variability in the water cycle, thus inducing extreme weather events (floods, droughts), altering regimes of rainfall and intermittent streams and reducing the predictability of water availability, decreasing water quality and threatening social, economic and environmental achievements worldwide and having an increasingly adverse impact on demographic and migration patterns.
Today, per capita freshwater availability is diminishing. Over the past four decades, it dropped by one-third. According to UN-Water’s World Water Development Report (2018), by 2050, between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion people out of 9 billion will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion, up from 1.2 billion today.
In December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly declared the period 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” (hereinafter Water Action Decade), which aims at supporting sustainable development and integrated management of water resources, while promoting cooperation and partnerships to support achieving internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In this connection, the Government of Tajikistan, committed to continue providing a platform for policy dialogue, partnership and action at the global, regional and national level, is organizing, with the support of the United Nations and other partners, high-level international conferences throughout the Water Action Decade. This series of events constitutes the so-called “Dushanbe Water Process”. As part of this process, the First High-level International Conference on the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028 (First Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference) was held in Dushanbe on 20-21 June 2018. The outcomes of the Conference included recommendations to the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that took place in 2018, for its in-depth review of the implementation of SDG 6. The Final Declaration of the First Dushanbe Conference confirmed the focus of the next conference to be on “Catalyzing water action and partnership at the local, national, regional and global levels” to achieve the goals of the Water Action Decade and other water-related SDGs and targets. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemics, the Second Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference had to be postponed to 2022.
The importance of the Second Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference was further reaffirmed at the global level through the adopted UN GA resolution 75/212, indicating it as the key preparatory event for the United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028. The Midterm Review Conference will take place from 22 to 24 March 2023 in New York and will be co-hosted by the Governments of Tajikistan and the Netherlands. The resolution calls on the offer of the Government of Tajikistan to use the Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference in 2022 as a platform to support an effective preparation for the Midterm comprehensive review. The Conference in Dushanbe shall also ensure linkages with other water-related meetings that may serve to provide input for the preparatory process of the Midterm Conference, e.g. high-level symposium on water during the UN Ocean Conference, Bonn Water Dialogue for Results, Asia-Pacific Water Summit and the ninth World Water Forum.
The Second Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference is co-organized by the Government of Tajikistan and the United Nations and planned to be held from (date to be confirmed) to (date to be confirmed) June 2022. The Conference will be co-chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
The Second Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference will focus on how governments, the United Nations and its entities, other international and regional organizations, international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society organizations, academia, communities, local governments and other stakeholders can catalyze water action and partnerships to contribute to the implementation of water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the New Urban Agenda at all levels, while supporting the global response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Second Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference will also serve as a platform for soliciting and consolidating inputs in preparation of the United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028 in 2023 in New York and will feed the upcoming UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.