On December 21, 2020 the UN General Assembly, in its 75th Session, unanimously adopted a draft resolution entitled “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”, introduced by Tajikistan and the Netherlands with the co-sponsorship of the absolute majority of the UN member states - 190 countries.
This document, which relies on previous General Assembly resolutions on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028”, emphasizes that water is critical for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger. The resolution also notes with concern that climate change is one of the factors that can exacerbate the global water stress and the need for climate adaptation strategies to address water issues.
In light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the resolution recognizes that safe drinking water, and adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene are essential to global efforts towards strengthening and achieving universal health coverage.
The operative part of the resolution reaffirms the decision to hold in New York, from 22 to 24 March 2023 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 (UN Conference - 2023) and welcomes the offer by the Governments of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands to co-host the Conference.
It should be noted that during the UN Conference - 2023, it is planned, along with other water-related issues, to have a greater focus on the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for the achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives, on the implementation and promotion of related programmes and projects, as well as on the furtherance of cooperation and partnerships at all levels, in order to help to achieve the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The resolution also decides to identify possible challenges and obstacles related to the achievement of the objectives of the Decade, exchange views and develop actions and initiatives needed for accelerating progress toward the achievement of the objectives during the second half of the Decade, and involve all relevant stakeholders, bringing together Governments, the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, other interested international bodies, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors to assess challenges and opportunities relating to, as well as support further action to implement, the objectives of the Decade and the water-related goals and targets.
The resolution reiterates its request to the President of the General Assembly to convene in New York, in 2021, a one-day high-level meeting to promote the implementation of the water-related goals and targets.
In addition, the resolution requests the President of the General Assembly to hold a one-day preparatory meeting, by November 2022, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, to finalize the themes of the interactive dialogues and other outstanding organizational matters of the UN Conference - 2023.
At the same time, the resolution welcomes the offer of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan to convene a High-level International Conference in 2022 in Dushanbe to support an effective preparation for the midterm comprehensive review of the Decade that may serve to provide input for the preparatory process for the UN Conference - 2023.
Also the resolution, confirming its decision on the need for regional and global preparatory meetings, further welcomes the offers of the Government of Portugal to host a high-level symposium on water during the United Nations Ocean Conference, of the Government of Germany to host a high-level conference on water, of the Government of Japan to support the organization of the Asia-Pacific Water Summit in April 2022, of the Government of Senegal to host the ninth World Water Forum from 21 to 26 March 2022, and of other Member States to organize meetings intended to feed into the midterm comprehensive review.
The resolution encourages Member States, relevant United Nations bodies, the specialized agencies, the regional commissions and other organizations of the United Nations system, as well as other relevant partners, including the private sector, to continue to contribute to the review and implementation of the Decade, including through capacity-building, in order to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
It should be noted that the United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action can provide an important and timely platform for discussion and exchange of views on a wide range of water issues and become a worthy continuation of the first UN Water Conference, held back in 1977 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Undoubtedly, the adoption of the abovementioned resolution by the UN General Assembly is evidence of the recognition of the global importance of water-related initiatives of the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Emomali Rahmon by the international community.