UN Water Conference

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From 22-24 March, the UN Water Conference was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York. This remarkable event took place forty-six years after the last UN Water Conference, with the aim of adopting a Water Action Agenda (WAP).

One of the documents presented at this conference was a policy paper prepared by the International Science Council UN 2023 Water Conference: ISC Policy Brief, co-authored by Prof. Paweł Rowiński, a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, hydrologist and hydrodynamicist associated with the Institute of Geophysics of the PAS. The Polish Academy of Sciences has been a member of the International Science Council since 1955.

The ISC Policy Brief highlights the importance of science in responding to the global water crisis and describes emerging future challenges. The document groups together key water issues.

The main recommendations and messages arising from the document produced by the ISC are:

1.The global water goals set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, Goal No. 6 ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’, are not on track to be achieved.

2. The ISC has identified four categories of water challenges, each requiring different strategies in terms of science, policy and practical solutions:

  • Category 1. Persistent water issues with known solutions 
  • Category 2. Identical challenges requiring differentiated solutions 
  • Category 3. Rapid changes requiring new solutions
  • Category 4. Addressing emerging and future water issues

3. In order to try to eliminate the complexity of the interplay of natural and human factors, which makes solving water-related problems significantly more difficult, science must be trusted first and foremost. In order to promote concrete action and anticipate future water risks, a great role should be attached to increasing the systematic dialogue between decision-makers and scientists.

4. Drawing on a diverse range of experts from across the World, the ISC stands ready to provide decision-makers at both global and national levels with independent and evidence-based guidance, as well as research on future water risks.

These challenges include well-understood issues with only a lack of implementation of proven solutions, as well as new and emerging issues that require additional research and innovative thinking.

In the “UN 2023 Water Conference: ISC Policy Brief”,  the researchers highlighted that water crises around the world jeopardise the achievement of key development and environmental goals, and ultimately all of the Sustainable Development Goals, given the centrality of water to social, political and economic issues around the world.

The entire document is available at the following link: https://council.science/publications/water-policy-brief/