25.04.2019 - Natural Sciences Sector

Water Side Event at Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development


On 16 April 2019, the side event ‘Building on the interlinkages between Water and Sanitation and the SDGs under review at the HLPF 2019’ took place at the fifth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Marrakech (Morocco). The event was organized by WWAP, UNECA, the UNESCO Regional Office for Africa and UN-Water in the Coupole Room at the Palais des Congres de la Palmeraie from 2.30 to 7.00pm.

The Side Event was organized to build upon the UN-Water global ‘Synthesis Report on SDG 6’. Specifically, it was held for delegates and institutional representatives to deliberate on the findings of the African Regional Policy paper on SDG 6 interlinkages, which examines the interlinkages of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) with SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), in addition to SDG 17 (partnerships). The document points out the existence of strong interlinkages between the aforementioned SDGs and water and demonstrates the importance of understanding them for appropriate priority setting, and to improve policy coherence and effectiveness at regional and national scale. In such way, the side event aimed at ensuring that water aspects are taken into account at the regional meetings with countries, and at the High-Level Polical Forum (HLPF) for Sustainable Development in July 2019.

Water also plays a key role to make progress in many other SDGs of the 2030 Agenda as well as in the Africa Water Vision 2025 and the Agenda 2063 for the African Union. Overall, a shift towards more integrated approaches that consider the multiple dimensions of sustainable development needs to be realized. This need was also highlighted in practical case studies presented from Ethiopia and Uganda, and by the dissemination of concrete examples on how to better integrate SDGs in policy and practice.

The key outcomes of the side event further point out that ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education is not possible without access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in schools. Therefore, policy makers should ensure that no schools are established without safe water and sanitation services, and hygiene should be (re-)introduced as a compulsory and practical subject from pre-school onwards.

The overall outcomes of the ARFSD 5 will (i) feed into the 2019 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which will be held in July 2019; and (ii) be used for policy advocacy, formulation and implementation at regional and national levels. The Forum also offers opportunity for Africa to articulate inputs on its specific challenges in the implementation of the SDGs to the Leaders’ summit in September 2019.

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