Non-Aligned Movement recognises the significance of water for sustainable development and acknowledges the economic, social, and environmental significance of water. In this context, NAM has welcomed the Resolution 71/222 adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December 2016 which emphasises that water is critical for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger; water, energy, food security and nutrition are linked and that water is indispensable for human development, health and wellbeing and a vital element of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and other relevant goals in the social, environmental and economic fields. Res. 71/222 further proclaimed that period from 2018 to 2028 the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, would commence on World Water Day, 22 March 2018, and terminate on World Water Day, 22 March 2028.
In keeping with Res. 71/222, UN General Assembly on the occasion of World Water Day on 22nd March 2018 launched the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028. Antonio-Guterres, the UN Secretary General outlined the three objectives for the Action Plan for implementing the water decade – first, to transform silo-based approach to water supply, sanitation, water management and disaster risk reduction to better tackle water stress, combat climate change and enhance resilience; second, to align existing water and sanitation programmes and projects with the 2030 Agenda and third, to generate the political will for strengthened cooperation and partnerships.
NAM has noted the significance of these objectives and calls for a greater focus on the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for the achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives and on the implementation and promotion of related programs and projects, as well as on the furtherance of cooperation and partnership at all levels in order to help to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
NAM has also called for increased assistance to developing countries by the United Nations, Multilateral Development Banks, Regional Organizations, developed countries and other donors in their efforts to prepare integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans as part of their national development strategies and to provide access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
NAM Member States welcomed the initiative of the President of the General Assembly to launch the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development during the High-Level Event on March 22, 2018. India reiterated its support for the initiative and was hopeful that through concerted national action and international collaboration, the international community can collectively meet the challenge of ensuring sustainable solutions to the requirement of clean water.
India highlighted the large-scale efforts in the country by extensive measures both by government and other stakeholders to improve the availability of clean water for drinking and sanitation. Such efforts included cleaning of rivers and practices of integrated watershed management and rainwater harvesting.
Ghana assured commitment to playing its part in the global effort towards the success of the Decade and highlighted how the country had devised a number of policy measures including various water conservation measures, renewable energy resource for mitigating climate change, investment in waste-water treatment, enforcing the ban on illegal mining, education and public awareness. Ghana said that integrated approaches must include sustainable and universal access to safe water and sanitation, building more resilient societies and economies, including disaster risk reduction, investing more and more effectively in water-related infrastructure, appreciating the centrality of environmental issues, and building sustainable cities and human settlement.
Indonesia called for enhancing the participation of all stakeholders including national and regional Governments, UN system, private sectors, financial institutions and civil society, to strengthen necessary water infrastructure in all levels, ensuring provision of adequate and affordable innovation and technology and mitigating and enhancing resilience towards water related challenges, such as floods, droughts and rising sea-level. Indonesia stated that the water decade provided the tools for furthering these objectives.
NAM has called upon States to ensure the progressive realization of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, to continuously monitor and regularly analyse the status of the realization of the human right to safe drinking water. NAM Member States are actively responding to this call.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor