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According to United Nations President Tijjani Muhammad Bande, low- and middle-income countries lose more than 800,000 people every year to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities.

Adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 6 has been lagging as 2030 deadline draws nearer

The United Nations developed its 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to take aim at poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation for a better, more sustainable future.

The U.N. has stressed that in the interest of global peace and justice, it’s important to meet them all by 2030. But it acknowledges that progress toward meeting SDG 6, which pertains to water and sanitation, is off-track. A lag in meeting 1 of 17 SDGs may not immediately seem too concerning, but in fact SDG 6 is vital to almost every other SDG; therefore, on July 9, the U.N. released its Global Acceleration Framework for SDG 6.

Stakes Are High

U.N. General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad Bande laid out what is at stake:

Water security is crucial for maintaining peace between households, communities and in fact even nations. Almost 60 percent of freshwater flows through over 250 water basins, distributed between 148 countries. Given the fragmented distribution, the only way we can manage the global water resources efficiently is through multilateral cooperation. […] Currently, the low and middle income countries lose over 800,000 people every year due to poor Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities.

Although SDG 6 is indispensable to climate change resilience, peace, security, human rights, and economic development, global water supplies are trapped between increasing demand and use on one side and water source degradation from climate change and pollution on the other. More than 2 billion people still have no access to safe drinking water, and 4.2 billion have no access to safe sanitation.

With the launch of the Global Acceleration Framework, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres touched on the timeliness of SDG 6:

[W]ater and sanitation are also key to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Decade of Action

The U.N. intends the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework to speed up and enlarge progress on SDG 6 as part of a decade of action. The multilateral system will eliminate bottlenecks to improve support for countries through coordinated response to member nation requests.

UN-Water will handle the overall coordination of the SDG 6 Global Accelerator Framework five accelerators:

  • Financing: The U.N. will optimize financing.
  • Data & information: A data exchange will build trust to improve decision-making and accountability.
  • Capacity development: Focus will be placed upon the capacity of people to deliver sustainable services.
  • Innovation: Innovation will be sought and harnessed to speed progress toward SDG 6.
  • Governance: Strengthening of institutions and delineation of well-defined roles will make the work of meeting SDG6 goals more accessible to everyone.

Water-Related Challenges

Gilbert Huongbo, chairman of UN-Water, stressed response to several water-related problems to which the world is vulnerable:

  • Water-source contamination and increasing demand and use
  • Growing agricultural, industrial, manufacturing, and energy-generation demand
  • Climate change-related water scarcity that can displace populations

For Huongbo, sound water and sanitation systems, and integrated water resource management are indispensable to health, education, food, energy, climate change, and peace.

The U.N. SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework ultimately aspires to help the furthest behind first. Fluence’s agile range of technologies and financing structures make high quality water treatment a reality anywhere in the world. Contact Fluence to accelerate your progress toward meeting U.N. SDG6.