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The UN 2023 Water Conference in New York City will seek to develop innovative and transformative ideas to deliver on the water actions in the 2030 Agenda.

Water has been referred to as the foundation of all life and as the most essential resource for survival of people and the planet. Water is important for sanitation, human rights, urbanization, sustainability, and economic growth, among others. Therefore, a well managed water cycle underpins progress across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly relating to hunger, gender equity, health, education, livelihoods, sustainability and ecosystems. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 focuses on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene but also addresses the quality and sustainability of water resources. It also calls for improved water and sanitation management. Without proper water governance, there is increased competition for water between economic sectors, leading to escalation of water crises and emergencies. Sound management of water resources requires innovative and transformative ideas and renewed commitments to accelerate actions in integrated water resource management.

Recognizing that the world needs clear commitments, pledges and actions, across all sectors, industries and interests, that help deliver on the water actions in the 2030 Agenda, the UN 2023 Water Conference will seek to develop innovative and transformative ideas and a “beyond business as usual” approach. The Conference, also referred to as the UN Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the 2018-2028 International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development,” will be hosted by the Netherlands and Tajikistan.

The review of implementation progress of the Decade has included a series of high-level international conferences and events known as the Dushanbe Water Process held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. These conferences provided opportunities for promotion of action, partnership and policy dialogue, and promoted interlinkages with and contributions to other relevant water-related processes.

The First Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference, which was held on 20-21 June 2018,  made recommendations to the 2018 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, for its in-depth review of the implementation of SDG 6.

The Second Water Action Decade Conference, which was postponed to 6-9 June 2022 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, focused on catalyzing water action and partnership for water-smart post-COVID recovery. The Conference launched the Water Action Agenda, which compiles water-related voluntary commitments to accelerate progress in the second half of the Water Action Decade and second half of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These commitments will be a central focus for the UN 2023 Water Conference. 

The UN 2023 Water Conference, which will take place from 22-24 March 2023 at UN Headquarters in New York, will have six plenary meetings and five interactive dialogues on: water for health; water for sustainable development; water for climate; water for cooperation; and the Water Action Decade. The output will be a summary, and will include new voluntary commitments, focusing on accelerated implementation and improved impact towards achieving SDG 6 and other water-related goals and targets. The first day of the conference coincides with the celebration of the 2023 World Water Day, themed, “accelerating change.”

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