The SDGs

Highlights and images for 11 July 2023

New York, United States of America

With SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) as the focus of the day, a new report highlights the progress made with achieving some targets

With SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) coming into focus for the day, a new report highlights the progress made with achieving some targets

Progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on clean water and sanitation is “alarmingly off-track.” Delegates were emphatic about not wasting any more time and turning the tide on implementation. "Let’s drop the egos and do collaboration for real,” was a strong message from the 2023 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on its second day.

Want to dive deeper? Read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

Following a morning segment devoted to SDG 6, delegates turned to the special challenges faced by small island developing states (SIDS) and localization of the SDGs. Examples were shared from across the globe of the kinds of transformations that are being achieved at the local level to shift towards the full implementation of the SDGs and how these can be supported.

Mark Harbers, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands

Jaap Slootmaker, Vice Minister, Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands

SDG 6 – Going from Off-Track to Accelerated Progress

Jaap Slootmaker, Vice Minister, Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands, reported the UN 2023 Water Conference – co-organized with Tajikistan - produced a concrete action agenda for achieving SDG 6, one-fourth of which could be considered “game changing.” Kelly Ann Naylor, lead writer, SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2023 on Water and Sanitation, said the report provides a clear blueprint to accelerate progress. The need for strengthening transboundary water diplomacy was underscored, with many speakers calling for convening of more regular UN meetings on water and sanitation.

In the discussion, 41 interventions were made. Many delegates lauded the Water Conference and expressed support for a Special Envoy and greater transboundary cooperation on water issues, with some calling for a UN-system-wide water strategy, and a process towards a UN Water Convention. Many contributions highlighted new initiatives that tackle water scarcity as well as water-related natural disasters and foster greater transparency and accountability in water resources governance at all levels. Speakers further underlined the critical need for finance, technology transfer, capacity building and other means of implementation.

Albert Ranganai Chimbindi, Vice President of ECOSOC, chaired the session on transformation from the ground up

Albert Ranganai Chimbindi, Vice President of ECOSOC, chaired the session on local action

Transformation from the Ground Up: Acting at Local Level

Mathieu Mori, Secretary General, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Council of Europe, opened this session by noting local action is a precondition for delivering the promise on the SDGs and calling for national governments to give local leaders the powers they need to do so. Panelists urged equipping local officials with greater administrative powers to take initiatives; facilitating the exchange of experience among such officials; translating the 2030 Agenda and SDGs into accessible language that addresses local needs and day-to-day problems; empowering youth to drive community change; involving previously unreached populations in realizing the SDGs; and featuring a greater role for Voluntary Local Reports at the HLPF.

In subsequent debate, participants called for, among other things: using localized approaches for monitoring SDG progress and identifying gaps between the Goals and the situation on-the-ground; using a whole-of-society approach; better resource sharing across governance levels; establishing multi-level dialogues within countries; demand-driven, context-specific investment; and effective finance channeled to local levels.

A delegate listens to the discussion on recovery to resilience for small island developing states (SIDS)

A delegate listens to the discussion on how to move from recovery to resilience for SIDS

Small Island Developing States

Panelists discussed: the need for debt relief and grant-based and/or concessional finance for SIDS; adequate prioritization for SIDS in international financing; more finance for resilience, risk reduction and climate adaptation; investment in early warning and data collection systems; and the role of digital transformation in resilience building.

During the subsequent debate, speakers highlighted the inherent vulnerabilities that SIDS face, with many welcoming ongoing work on a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index that better reflects their reality. The international community was called upon to, inter alia: expand access to affordable and climate-indexed financing tailored to SIDS contexts; center capacity building for disaster risk reduction in development cooperation efforts; tackle the high cost of data collection arising from geographically dispersed SIDS settings; and take into account the specific vulnerabilities as well as contributions of women and excluded groups.

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For HLPF 2023, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth.