Budapest Water Summit

08-11 October 2013, Budapest, Hungary – The Budapest Water Summit opened on Tuesday, 08 October 2013, in the context of the UN International Year of Water Cooperation 2013, the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development “The Future We Want”, and the ongoing post-2015 development agenda process to negotiate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was characterized by a Summit Plenary, Science Forum, Civil Society Forum, Youth Forum and a Business Leaders Forum.

The high-level speakers reflected upon lack of clean drinking water, impacts of water access on health, agriculture and environment, cooperation of between countries, need of water for health, security and economic progress, food security, climate change and sanitation, sustainable water management, reaching decision makers, promoting dialogue among stakeholders, building capacities on IWRM, need of political will in the process, potential consequences of water-focused terrorism,, wastewater use, change of culture and leadership, gender perspective, etc.

The Third Hashimoto Action Plan has been launched at the opening ceremony. This Action Plan aims at helping to shape the direction of water and sanitation policy throughout the world. All speakers highlighted crucial importance of having a dedicated water goal in the future MDGs and SDGs.

On the 09 October 2013, the Summit continued discussions on striving for universal access to WASH, IWRM for the 21st century, and how to serve a growing population with water in changing climate. A high level session address water-energy-food nexus.

On the 10 October 2013, the Summit addressed good water governance, how to govern water wisely with specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) SDGs, green economy for blue water, and what is “green” as such. In the evening, a philanthropy roundtable took place.

On the final day, 11 October 2013, the Budapest Water Summit Statement has been presented. The statement was later adopted.

The Statement declares, inter alia:

  • water is fundamental, is key to our future development, and safeguards our life support on earth, which is increasingly under pressure from global changes;
  • all basic planetary and ecosystem functions will be endangered if water is not governed properly, jeopardizing the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation;
  • unintended impacts to ecosystems in the name of water uses are contrary to the aspirations of a sustainable water future; and
  • lessons of water and sanitation-related MDGs show the critical need for sound scientific underpinning, and socioeconomic, institutional, technical, financial and engineering capacity.

The Statement recommends development of a dedicated and comprehensive SDG on water, a “Water-Secure World,” while clearly addressing the inter-linkages to other SDGs. The Statement proposes the goal be accompanied by “SMART(ER)” [specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (evaluated and re-evaluated)] targets addressing main water-related issues including:

  • achieving universal access to WASH;
  • improving integrated and cross-sectoral approaches to water resources management;
  • reducing pollution and increasing collection, treatment and re-use of water; and
  • increasing resilience against the water-related impacts of global challenges.

The Statement also concludes that the critical nature of water for human populations and the planet, conditioning any future sustainable development agenda, requires a robust intergovernmental process to regularly monitor, review and assess progress of the implementation of a future water goal. The Statement recommends appropriate institutional mechanisms are soon put in place to regularly review and assess progress in an integrated manner.

The Statement includes annexed policy recommendations on: creating SMART(ER) targets to ensure universal access to safe, gender-responsive and sustainable WASH; integrated consideration of water within its management context and in all basic services sectors; fostering good water governance; using water to create growth and “green economies”; and creating new micro- and macro-, private- and public-, financing methods.

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