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Water and sanitation

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Over the past several decades, ever-growing demands for – and misuse of – water resources have increased the risks of pollution and severe water stress in many parts of the world. The frequency and intensity of local water crises have been increasing, with serious implications for public health, environmental sustainability, food and energy security, and economic development. Demographics continue changing and unsustainable economic practices are affecting the quantity and quality of the water at our disposal, making water an increasingly scarce and expensive resource — especially for the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable.

The importance of water is traced to the 1977 Mar del Plata conference in Argentina which created an Action Plan on “Community Water Supply”, declaring that all peoples have the right to access to drinking water in quantities and quality equal to their basic needs. The importance of water was further raised in the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade from 1981 to 1990 and in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (Agenda 21, Chapter 18), as well as at the International Conference on Water and the Environment (ICWE) in Dublin. In 1993 the World Water Day was designated on 22 March by the UN General Assembly, and in 2013 World Toilet Day on 19 November.

In 2000 the Millennium Development Declaration called for the world to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water as well as the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation and in 2003 the International Year of Freshwater was declared by the General Assembly, followed by the “Water for Life" Decade from 2005 to 2015.

In order to coordinate the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues, the Chief Executives Board (CEB) of the United Nations established in 2003 UN-Water — a UN inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater and sanitation related issues.

In 2008 the International Year of Sanitation was declared and on 28 July 2010 the human right to water and sanitation was explicitly recognized by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 64/292.

In September 2015 the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted at the UN Summit, which includes Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water and sanitation and in December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution “International Decade for Action – Water for Sustainable Development” (2018–2028) in support of the achievement of SDG 6 and other water-related targets. Water is also at the heart of milestone agreements such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all has therefore been for a long time a topic at the United Nations and the priority is now turning the new vision of water related SDGs of the 2030 Agenda into reality, through national leadership and global partnership. Water and sanitation are at the core of sustainable development and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. The world needs now to transform the way it manages its water resources and the way it delivers water and sanitation services for billions of people.

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This is a compilation of statements from the General Debate of the 75th Session regarding references to SDG 6. The information reflected on this website has been taken directly from the official UNGA75 statements received from Member States and does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations. For those statements not available in English, an unofficial translation was prepared. 

For more information on the General Assembly process, please click here.

*This page is currently under development. Please check back soon for updated information.

Afghanistan
Andorra
Australia
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Botswana
Cabo Verde
Cambodia
Chile
China
Columbia
Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
Ecuador
Eswatini
Ethiopia
Fiji
France
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Ireland
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Korea
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Micronesia
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Niger
Norway
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Romania
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Samoa
San Marino 
Sao Tome and Principe
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Spain
Suriname
Sweden
Syrian Arab Republic
Tajikistan
Timor-Leste
Trinidad and Tobago
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United Republic of Tanzania
Vanuatu

This is a compilation of the 2020 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) regarding information reported on SDG 6. The information reflected on this website has been taken directly from the official VNRs received from Member States and does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations. For those VNRs not available in English, an unofficial translation was prepared. 

For more information on the VNR process, please click here.

*This page is currently under development. Please check back soon for updated information.