Water Is a Prerequisite for All Development.

Author:Braga, Benedito

The World Water Council (WWC) considers the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be an endeavour of the highest importance for the achievement of water security throughout the world, which is crucial for a prosperous and equitable future for humankind. Thus, SDG 6, aiming to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all", is central to the Councils mission. The World Water Council is compelled to reiterate its message that sustainable development is not possible without water security.

We firmly believe that water must be appreciated, not only as an end in itself, but as a means for all other development trajectories, whether it be food or energy security, improvement of livelihoods, women's empowerment, disease prevention, ecosystem protection, increasing resilience to global changes or a myriad of other domains. Safe water is, after all, the common thread connecting all the SDGs. Indeed, water issues underlie a number of United Nations agreements ratified in recent years, including the Paris Agreement (2015), the New Urban Agenda (2016) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and must be addressed in an integral way.

We are encouraged to have recently witnessed a growing awareness of the vital importance of water at the highest possible political levels, notably as manifested within the High-level Panel on Water. Consisting of 11 current Heads of State and Government and one Special Adviser prepared to champion the cause of water, this panel will present the outcomes of their deliberations in Brasilia in March 2018 at the 8th World Water Forum.

While significant, although uneven, progress has been made in the past decades, much remains to be accomplished. Even if we consider that Target C of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 "Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation" was reached in some cases, in the best-case scenario 50 per cent of the target population remains unserved. Universal coverage as defined in the SDGs is another story, requiring action and investment at an entirely different scale to be implemented by 2030, especially for sanitation. We must not lose the momentum generated by the MDGs, while pursuing ambitions that go far beyond them.

While it may be simple to draft global goals, it is much more difficult to implement them, especially when financial flows are...

To continue reading