STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF CUBA, H.E. MRS. INéS MARíA CHAPMAN WAUGH, IN THE UNITED NATIONS WATER CONFERENCE (New York, 22 March 2023)
His Excellency, Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan,
His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands,
Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Mr. Csaba Körösi. President of the 77th period of sessions of the United Nations General Assembly,
Distinguished heads of delegations and guests:
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The Group welcomes the United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development", 2018-2028, and recognizes the leading role of its co-hosts in this regard. We underscore this is a valuable opportunity to mobilize political leadership and address global water challenges through bold action.
This meeting takes place in the context of a multidimensional systemic crisis in health, energy, food, climate and environmental fields with exacerbated effects on developing countries. In this complex and challenging landscape, water remains inextricably linked to all pillars of sustainable development.
Water is critical for the eradication of poverty and hunger and is indispensable for human development, health and wellbeing. Therefore, it is a vital element in achieving the SDGs and other relevant goals in the social, environmental and economic fields.
The Group notes with concern that lack of access to a safe drinking water source, basic sanitation and sound hygiene, water-related disasters, water scarcity and water pollution will be further exacerbated by urbanization, population growth, desertification, drought and other extreme weather events and climate change, as well as by the lack of capacity to ensure integrated water resource management.
We stress that developing countries need enhanced international finance, capacity building and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to achieve efficiency in water management and reiterated that Official Development Assistance for the water sector should be increased.
It is imperative to expand international cooperation to developing countries in water and sanitation related activities and programmes.
Currently, more than 50% of the world's cities suffer recurrent water shortages. Estimates suggest that 6.7 trillion US dollars are needed by 2030, and 22.6 trillion US dollars by 2050 to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6.
The Group also expresses its concerns that water stress is above 70 percent especially in some countries, including Northern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Western Asia and Central and Southern Asia and South America, as well as the Lake Chad Region, which provides strong indication of future water scarcity. We acknowledge the additional challenges facing countries that suffer from water scarcity and we remain concerned with the impacts of such challenges including, inter-alia, on their ability to achieving the SDGs.
On another note, we reiterate the need to commit to improving cooperation across borders, in transboundary waters, in accordance with applicable international law.
We also recall the commitment to step up efforts on all fronts to tackle desertification, land degradation, erosion and drought, biodiversity loss and water scarcity, which are seen as major environmental, economic and social challenges for global sustainable development.
We recognize that the International Decade "Water for Sustainable Development" 2018-2028 aims to further cooperation and partnership at all levels in order to help achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda.
In this regard, the Group also beholds the Water Action Agenda, which will serve as an important outcome of the conference through contributions on a voluntary basis. We hope this initiative can effectively contribute to accelerate implementation of the Water Action Decade 2018- 2028, the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goal 6.
We also recognize efforts that have been carried out to support to international dialogue on water and the promotion of local, national and regional action on integrated and sustainable water resources management worldwide, such as the World Water Forum, and the High-Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development", held in Tajikistan last year.
The Group of 77 & China supports the efforts to ensure continuous progress in the implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development" as well as the 2030 Agenda, in a challenging and fast-changing environment.
I thank you.