United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Montenegro and Slovenia

Division for the Support to the National Council for Sustainable Development
Date: 23-24 May 2013
Role of water in future SDGs
MNE–SI speaking points for 3rd meeting of OWG SDGs
(focus on water)
· Water and sanitation is the topic of utmost importance for sustainable development. We
welcome the estimations of the World Bank that MDG goal on access to water and sanitation
has been achieved last year, nevertheless this is not the reason for satisfaction. Actions have
to be increased both to ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and to fully
realise human right to safe drinking water and sanitation globally.
· When dealing with water we have to bear in mind its multidimensional nature. Water issues
are strongly connected with all other aspects of sustainability. Last year in Rio we re-affirmed
the importance of water for sustainable development, recognizing, that "water is at the core
of sustainable development as it is closely linked to a number of key global challenges".
· When developing SDGs, the following positive contributions of water to sustainable
development should be considered:
· Firstly, water is an important environmental factor. It is not only a precondition for
biodiversity, water ecosystems themselves are rich in biodiversity. Wetlands and other
ecosystems provide for important ecosystem services: they provide water for variety of
uses, prevent land degradation, provide for water cleaning and treatment, etc. For this
reason continuation of conservation efforts is needed.
· Secondly, water is important economic resource – 70% of freshwater is used in agriculture
and additional 20% in industry. At this point the importance of water-energy nexus is to be
properly addressed: water on one hand is important renewable energy resource, on the
other hand there are numerous unsustainable patterns of its use in energy and other
sectors. Need for sustainable use of freshwater resources in economic activities is
necessary for lowering water stress and maintaining water quality.
· Thirdly, water has tremendous influence on human health and wellbeing – as already
proven through MDG on safe drinking water and sanitation, access to water and sanitation
positively affects human health, improves quality of life, contributes to higher participation
in education process, etc. With further promotion of safe and clean drinking water we will
contribute to eradication of poverty.
· Fourthly, water is an important element of international cooperation. Research shows
that shared water resources are in most cases managed through cooperation. Cooperation
in managing shared water resources contributes positively not only to access to water but
also strengthens trust and friendly relations among states and communities. Slovenia and
Montenegro have positive experience with cooperation within Sava river basin, based on
Framework Agreement, which is an important example of regional mechanism for
cooperation in water management.
· However, we should not focus only on benefits of water but also consider options on how to
appropriately address root-causes of water stress with preventive approach. Some of these
issues include over-use and unsustainable use of water resources, climate change, pollution
and poor management of available resources. Projections show, business as usual in water
use and management will lead to increased water stress in many parts of the world and
especially in those countries, that are already most vulnerable.
· As we have pointed out at previous OWG sessions – we will have to leave behind a “silo
approach” and think more boldly and in more integrative way to form a comprehensive SDG
on water or to incorporate water in other relevant SDGs. In the end it will be important that
effective inclusion of water in SDGs will capture specific water related inter-linkages among
all three dimensions of sustainable development.