Editorial Feature

What is the Water Action Agenda?

The Water Action Agenda is a comprehensive framework that addresses global water challenges and ensures sustainable management of this essential resource. The cooperation of governments, corporations, civil society, and other stakeholders is needed to promote integrated water resource management and achieve the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the UN 2030 Agenda. This article discusses the Water Action Agenda, its objectives, recent relevant studies, and its importance with regard to World Water Day.

World Water Day

World Water Day is a global observance held annually on March 22nd to raise awareness of freshwater's vital role in our lives and highlight the need for the sustainable management of water resources.

Water is essential for human health, agriculture, and the environment. However, over two billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and approximately four billion people experience water scarcity for at least one month each year. The water crisis is becoming more severe due to climate change, population increase, and subpar water management techniques.

United Nations 2023 Water Conference

In March 2023, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands will hold the United Nations-organized 2023 water conference. The conference is anticipated to be a significant milestone that will bring together participants from all sectors and generate global momentum for expedited implementation and increased effect to tackle critical water-related concerns.

The UN 2023 Water Conference provides all countries with a rare opportunity to unite all stakeholders to raise awareness and mobilize political leadership to tackle the world's water problems and other water-related crises, such as food, energy, and climate change.

Effects of Water Crisis

According to some estimations, one-fourth of the world's population have no access to safe and pure drinking water, 3.6 billion people live without safely managed sanitation, and more than 8% of the wastewater is released into the environment untreated. Water-related disasters have caused a huge economic loss of almost 700 billion dollars in the past two decades.

The Water Action Agenda

The Water Action Agenda, a compilation of all water-related voluntary pledges to improve conditions in the second half of the Water Action Decade 2018-2028 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is the primary output of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference. The Water Action Agenda promotes cooperation and voluntary pledges to solve the world's water concerns among member states and other parties from all sectors and industries.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6)

Out of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Water Action Agenda is based on Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

The Water Action Agenda emphasizes the significance of integrated water resources management, stakeholder involvement, and capacity development for sustainable water management.

Objectives of the Water Action Agenda

One of the most important objectives of the water action agenda is to ensure equitable access to safe and clean water for all people and to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, such as rivers, wetlands, and groundwater systems.

Healthy ecosystems offer critical functions, such as water filtering, flood control, and biodiversity habitat, all endangered by pollution, over-extraction, and habitat loss. As a result, maintaining and restoring these ecosystems is essential to ensuring the long-term viability of water supplies.

The water action agenda also emphasizes the necessity of cutting-edge and environmentally friendly water management techniques, such as desalination, water harvesting, and water-efficient agriculture, that can help address water scarcity and ensure water resources are used sustainably and effectively.

Recent Relevant Studies

Effects of COVID-19 on the agenda of sustainable development

A study published in 2022 discusses the effect of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the researchers, attaining the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development might be a daunting job, but it can be made easier by focusing policymakers' attention on the issue of global water security.

The study has proposed several interventions, such as wastewater treatment and nature-based solutions, to achieve global water security while considering the SDG 6 acceleration factors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, World Water Day serves as an important reminder of the value of water and the urgent need for sustainable water management practices. The water action agenda offers a thorough framework for achieving sustainable water management, ensuring all people have equitable access to safe and clean water, protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems, and promoting novel and sustainable water management techniques.

The latest innovations and research projects provide promise for a sustainable future. However, cooperation across all countries is still required to guarantee that water resources will be accessible to future generations.

References and Further Reading

Irannezhad, M., Ahmadi, B., Liu, J., Chen, D., & Matthews, J. H. (2022) Global water security: A shining star in the dark sky of achieving the sustainable development goals. Sustainable Horizons. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772737821000055

Obaideen, K., Shehata, N., Sayed, E. T., Abdelkareem, M. A., Mahmoud, M. S., & Olabi, A. G. (2022). The role of wastewater treatment in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and sustainability guideline. Energy Nexus. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772427122000729

UN World Water Development Report: UN-water. United Nations. Retrieved March 20th, 2023, from https://www.unwater.org/publications/un-world-water-development-report

Water action agenda | department of economic and social affairs. United Nations. Retrieved March 20th, 2023, from https://sdgs.un.org/conferences/water2023/action-agenda

Water action agenda | sustainable development. United Nations. Retrieved March 20th, 2023, from https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/action-networks/water

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Taha Khan

Written by

Taha Khan

Taha graduated from HITEC University Taxila with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. During his studies, he worked on several research projects related to Mechanics of Materials, Machine Design, Heat and Mass Transfer, and Robotics. After graduating, Taha worked as a Research Executive for 2 years at an IT company (Immentia). He has also worked as a freelance content creator at Lancerhop. In the meantime, Taha did his NEBOSH IGC certification and expanded his career opportunities.  

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