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Report of the 30th UN Water meeting

Activities developed in the 30th UN Water meeting

The 30th meeting of UN-Water, which deals with ongoing and future issues to be addressed by UN-Water-related agencies and SDG 6 “Water and Sanitation”, was held on 31 January and 1 February 2019, in the presence and with the participation of the partners of UN-Water, among which is the World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE), represented by Tomás A. Sancho, past President of WCCE and Member of the WFEO Executive Council.

It should be taken into account that, in relation with the recently formed Water Working Group of the WFEO, one of the basic axes of action is to carry out engineering contributions to SDG 6 and its objectives through participation in UN-Water. As a partner of UN-Water, WCCE can participate by providing our contributions through its representative Tomás A. Sancho, past President of WCCE and Member of the WFEO Executive Council.

30th UN Water meeting

The meeting was held in the headquarters of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome. 84 people participated, 29 of them representing 24 “Water-related” partner organizations, and 23 as observers.

The agenda is available here .

The list of participants is available here .

Relevant matters

The preliminary report is available here .

The following points highlight the main items of the meeting:

  • Update on the UN Reform Process: UN-Water Secretary Madhushree Chatterjee highlighted that, as part of the UN reform process, the Resident Coordinators have moved from being UN Development Programme (UNDP) staff to being UN Secretariat staff. She said there is a website with information on the UN reform process, and that additional workstreams include: finalization of the accountability framework; review of multicountry offices; and a regional review to ensure that regional assets better synchronize with the needs on the ground. She said the next comprehensive update will be provided during the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) development segment in May. The president of UN-Water, Gilbert Houngbo, stressed that it is about offering “more delivery and less bureaucracy”
  • In preparation for the in-depth review of implementation of SDG 6 as one of the sub-set of SDGs to receive such a review during the July 2018 meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), UN-Water Members had coordinated their efforts to develop the SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 . The 30th UN-Water Meeting reviewed the consultation process that was undertaken during the final stages of the preparation of the Synthesis Report, including recommendations for the next Synthesis Report. Participants also discussed a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for two high-level meetings – one in 2021 and one in 2023 – on water and sanitation issues, and options for how UN-Water could contribute to the preparations for these meetings.
  • For the first time, the UN-Water agenda included an “Open Space” session for participants to propose specific topics that could benefit from a focused discussion and brainstorming. Participants said they appreciated the opportunity to hold face-to-face conversations on these topics, and agreed to include time for an Open Space on the agenda at the next UN-Water Meeting.
  • At the conclusion of the meeting, UN-Water Chair Gilbert Houngbo highlighted the discussions on data for measuring SDG 6 progress, country-level activities for UN-Water, and the role UN-Water Partners can play in engaging with UN-Water and the specialized UN agencies, all of which captured UN-Water’s collaborative approach to promoting a coordinated approach on water challenges. In adjourning the open session, he looked forward to seeing all Members and Partners at the next UN-Water Meeting, in August 2019, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Report by Tomás A. Sancho, Representative of WCCE and Member of the WFEO Executive Council.

Tomás A. Sancho (left, seated) participating to the “Open Space” session

Tomás A. Sancho (left, seated) participating to the “Open Space” session


For more information:

The report on the 30th UN-Water Meeting in the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) website

The UN-Water website

The World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE) website

SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation

UN-Water SDG 6 Public Dialogue Report

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