11.04.2017 - New York Office

Presentation of the 2017 edition of the World Water Development Report


New York, 6 April 2017: Director of UNESCO Office in New York, Marie-Paule Roudil, together with Stefan Uhlenbrook, Coordinator and Director of the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) of UNESCO, presented the 2017 World Water Development Report entitled “Wastewater, the Untapped Resource”.

Moderated by H.E. Katalin Annamária Bogyay, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations and with introductory remarks by Federica Pietracci from UN Water, the event presented the 2017 World Water Development Report (WWDR) entitled “Wastewater, the Untapped Resource”. The report illustrates how improved wastewater management generates social, environmental and economic benefits. It also describes how improved wastewater management is essential in transitioning towards a circular economy and to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Stefan Uhlenbrook illustrated four actions to improve wastewater management: reducing pollution at the source, removing contaminants from wastewater flows through collection and treatment, reusing reclaimed water and recovering useful by-products. He introduced the state of the world’s water resources underlining the increasing world demand for water, especially from the agricultural sector, energy production and large industry. Wastewater is strongly linked to human health, sanitation and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Wastewater should be considered as a valuable resource and as a possible source of economic benefit. To do so it is fundamental to change our way of thinking, creating an enabling environment for change through legal frameworks, appropriate financing mechanisms, building capacity and raising public awareness.

H.E. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Permanent Representative of Tajikistan to the United Nations, emphasized the importance of the past United Nations International Decade for Water 2005-2015 and Tajikistan’s commitment to the new International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028. Humanity is already facing big challenges as slow economic growth, rapid population growth, desertification, climate change and urbanization present serious challenges to water security. He stated that more financial and technological resources are needed in order to ensure sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and that Tajikistan, in collaboration with UNESCO, is strongly committed towards water related targets.

H.E. Virachai Plasai, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations, illustrated initiatives implemented by its country at a national level to achieve target 6.3 of SDG 6: “By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally”. Thailand have integrated the 2030 Agenda in their national plans and strategies and will be able to treat 30% of domestic wastewater by 2021 - with increasing percentage in the following years.

Ms. Nchedi Sophia Maphokga-Moripe, Chief Director of Global Cooperation and Strategic Partnerships, Department of Water and Sanitation of South Africa, highlighted the crucial role played by South Africa in achieving the water targets. South Africa is investing to assure water and sanitation for 10 billion people by 2050, and she emphasized that to be globally effective, there is a need for international institutional alignment. Both Nchedi Moripe and Manzoor Quadir, Assistant Director of the United Nations University-Institute for water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), shared positive views about the ability to achieve sustainable water and sanitation for all with the full engagement of all member states. Mr. Quadir emphasized the link between the use of untreated wastewater, health and environment and the need to think of wastewater as a valuable resource.

Different stakeholders are involved in the process and the private sector plays a major role as highlighted by Mai-Lan Ha, Senior Advisor of the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and Senior Research Associate at the Pacific Institute. Private sector is increasingly paying attention to the issue of the circular economy trying to identify new ways of reducing wastewater.

Useful Links:

REPORT: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002471/247153e.pdf

World Water Day: http://www.dwa.gov.za/campaigns/WorldWaterDay/Default.aspx  

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