Home / Press Information Department / Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN at High Level Meeting on Water related Goals and Targets in His Capacity as the President of Economic and Social Council

Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN at High Level Meeting on Water related Goals and Targets in His Capacity as the President of Economic and Social Council

Islamabad, March 19, 2021 (PPI-OT): Water is a natural resource that is vital for the sustenance of life. It is also at the core of sustainable development, and pivotal for poverty eradication and economic growth, says a press release received here today from New York. The critical importance of water has been highlighted further by the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene have provided protection during the pandemic. They will remain critical at least until the vaccine becomes available for all. The legal right of all to safe drinking water has been universally recognized. The focus of our efforts should be to fully implement this fundamental right for all the world’s people.

It is a matter of serious concern that by 2050, more than half of the world’s population will be at risk due to water stress. Desertification alone would threaten the livelihoods of nearly one billion people in about 100 countries. Intense water scarcity may displace as many as 700 million people by 2030. Over the last 20 years, the overwhelming majority of disasters, almost 90%, have been weather related and water-related events. 40% of the world’s population lives within shared river basins. Without effective transboundary water cooperation, inclusive sustainable development is severely curtailed, and the potential for threats to peace and security are ever present.

Water and climate are tied through the hydrological cycle. Climate change and associated changes in the hydrological cycle will lead also to biodiversity loss. Water is inextricably linked to the three pillars of sustainable development: economy society and environment. Achievement of the water-related goals and targets is essential to the successful implementation of a number of development agreements such as the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Lack of investment in water infrastructure leads to significant, economic, social and environmental losses. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the total financing needed between 2016 and 2030 for transition to a water-secure world could require additional annual investments of US$500 billion. Global estimates for financing this water transformation range from $6.7 trillion by 2030 to $22.6 trillion by 2050.

Investments are needed not only to build new infrastructure but also to maintain and operate existing facilities. Failure to improve water resource management could diminish national growth rates by as much as 6 percent of by 2050. Clearly, the current levels of financing are inadequate. We must support the SDG6 accelerator. Member states must also be encouraged to explore new approaches for investment in environmentally sustainable water and sanitation-related infrastructure.

In this regard, a sustainable infrastructure investment facility set up as a public private partnership under at the UN auspices can assist developing countries to identify prepare and offer viable projects to help bridge the current disconnect between potential investors and investment opportunities in the developing countries. Cooperation at all levels is required for a holistic, systemic and multilateral response to confront and overcome the water challenge. Only by working together can we achieve the implementation of SDG 6 and water related goals and targets across all the SDGs.

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