United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Troika (Kazakhstan, China and Indonesia)

Statement by Mr.Akan Rakhmetullin
Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations
on behalf of China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan
at the Third Meeting of the Open Working Group
on Sustainable Development Goals
New York, 24 May 2013
Distinguished Co-Chairs,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, let me to express my gratitude to the Co-Chairs, for their diligent
preparations for this third meeting of the OWG SDGs which takes us one step further
towards our objective of defining and addressing the SDGs.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the troika, consisting of China, Indonesia and
Kazakhstan, with regard to the issues and challenges of water and sanitation.
At Rio+20, Member States recognized that “water is at the core of social, economic and
environmental development as it is closely linked to a number of key global
challenges”. Water is essential for human health and well-being, food and energy
production, social and economic stability and for protecting and maintaining healthy
ecosystems. Therefore, water and sanitation must gain central focus in any post-2015
framework for poverty eradication and global sustainable development.
Today, 783 million people still remain without access to an improved water supply.
Many more use water that is unsafe to drink. This is significant considering that
approximately 97.5 % of the water on earth is saltwater, and only 2.5% is freshwater
which is available for human consumption. More than 85 % of the world’s population
lives in the driest half of the planet, of which the majority is women and children.
Our task is to ensure that freshwater resources are not threatened by climate change,
urbanization, population growth, pollution and other drivers of change. By 2030, nearly
half the global population could be facing water scarcity with demand outstripping
supply by 40 percent, due in part to climate change and also the needs of populations
growing in size and prosperity. At all costs, the need is to see that the numbers of
people living in river basins under severe water stress can be kept at a lower level than
the expected more than double, reaching almost 4 billion people.
Therefore, the availability of clean water will have to be managed sustainably in an
integrated manner to provide access to water, sanitation and hygiene, food and energy
production, disaster risk reduction, industrial development and healthy ecosystems.
Water should be addressed adequately to prevent crises by governments playing a key
role in securing water for competing demands. The quest for a water-secure world is a
joint responsibility and can be achieved through water cooperation and management at
the local, national, regional and global levels. Partnerships will have to be forged with a
multitude of stakeholders, ranging from the citizens, municipalities, local and state
governments to policy makers at the national and regional levels, and also with
international organizations. Timely and appropriate political recognition and policy
action are critical, utilizing also the advantages of decentralized cooperation in the areas
of financing and implementation.
The challenge will also be to balance agriculture, as the largest user of freshwater, with
a growing urgency to reconcile demands from farming with those of drinking water and
domestic and industrial uses, especially energy production. This is more relevant,
especially with the higher rates of urbanization in the consequent higher water sectors,
as well as, water-dependent sectors.
Significant other water-related challenges remain. The international community will
consider measures of combating water pollution, which continues to grow, by
endeavouring to minimize the more than anticipated 80% of used water that will be
discharged to nature untreated. The task will be to not only avert the threat to the
environment, economic development and human health, but also prevent a waste of
valuable resources. Over 1.7 billion people currently live in river basins where water
use exceeds recharge, leading to the desiccation of rivers and depletion of groundwater.
We will hence have to address and attempt to diminish the pressures on and pollution of
water resources that increasingly more countries are experiencing.
Water is a crucial and cross-cutting factor at the heart of all the MDGs, and will
continue to gain priority in post-2015 too. Thus, while recognizing the differentiated
responsibilities between developed and developing countries, we must ensure that each
Member State takes ultimate actions to meet the MDGs. This will be required to
prepare the way for the SDGs, by maintaining and improving the quality and quantity
of fresh water for future generations, especially with regard to safe drinking water and
basic sanitation.
The other crucial strategy is to set in place the mechanisms right now to ensure efficient
water management at the international, regional, national and local levels. Waterrelated
capacity development will be fundamental in the realization and implementation
of the post-2015 development agenda. Innovative, inclusive and sustainable financing
mechanisms for water need to be conceived from now on for timely implementation.
The next issue of vital concern is that of sanitation. We are well aware that the current
MDG target on sanitation will be missed by a significant margin as more than 2.5
billion people lack improved sanitation. Open defecation is still practiced by 1.1 billion
people. Lack of sanitation is holding back progress in other areas, including child and
maternal health, girls’ education, nutrition, gender equity and economic growth. The
MDG goal related to having the number of people without sustainable access to safe
drinking water has been reached, yet millions more need access. The goal related to
sanitation falls woefully short. The SDGs should aim to focus on improving hygiene,
changing social norms, managing better human waste and waste water, and the
eliminating open defection, which perpetuates the vicious cycle of disease and
entrenched poverty. Safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are
fundamental imperatives. This situation demands strengthened attention in the post-
2015 development framework so as to also eliminate discrimination and inequalities in
access to WASH, which are currently pervasive.
Despite being situated within the goal of environmental sustainability, the MDG target
for water and sanitation does not address the wider water agenda, as called for at
Rio+20, including water resources and wastewater management and issues of water
quality. This calls for special thought to be given to the complexity of hydrological
cycles and multiple effects of perturbations, and currently poor, deteriorating and
diminishing state of water resources in many parts of the world.
To summarize, the focus thus has to be on:
1) Targets for achieving safe drinking water and sanitation
2) Targets of water resources management and water use efficiency target
3) Targets for water quality
4) Devising means of implementation, including financing, technology transfer and
capacity building.
We need to pool together the ideas of a Sustainable Development Goal on Water,
including sanitation, put forward by key players, such as the African Minister’s Council
on Water, the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, the
UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate and several other countries which propose
a stand-alone water goal.
The troika of China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan stands ready to work with the
international community in its major task to make meaningful and relevant
development goals for water and sanitation to be implemented on the ground for the
benefit of people, ecosystems and the biosphere as a whole.
Thank you, Co-Chairs.