At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, as a result of increasing economic, social and environmental pressures and crises, freshwater has moved to the top of the international agenda as an issue for global concern and action. The vast majority of nations as well as major groups recognize that the proper venue for addressing such a planetary challenge is the United Nations, as the most universal and neutral international body in existence today.
The year 2010 marks the mid-point of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life” and provides an opportunity for a mid-term comprehensive review of achievements during the first half of the Decade, with the provision of policy guidance for the remainder of the Decade, with a view to accelerating progress towards the water-related internationally-agreed development goals.
Accordingly, in its resolution 64/198, the General Assembly:
- welcomed the generous offer of the Government of Tajikistan to host, in June 2010, a high-level international conference (HLIC) on the midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”, 2005-2015;
- invited the President of the General Assembly also to convene a high-level interactive dialogue (HLID) of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly in New York on 22 March 2010, World Water Day, on the implementation of the International Decade;
- stressed the importance of the full involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including women, children, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and other local communities, in the implementation of the International Decade at all levels, including its midterm comprehensive review;
- requested the Secretary-General to prepare a note on the organization of work of the Conference
- invited the relevant United Nations bodies, the specialized agencies, the regional commissions and other organizations of the United Nations system to actively engage in the preparations for the high-level international conference;
- invited the Secretary-General, in cooperation with UN-Water, to take appropriate actions to support Member States in the implementation of the second half of the International Decade;
The Midterm Comprehensive Review (MCR) of the International Decade should give opportunity for stocktaking of the progress achieved in the implementation of internationally agreed water-related goals, and prospects for the fulfillment of the international commitments on water and water related issues by 2015. It should provide an opportunity to discuss and develop new measures to accelerate efforts toward timely and fully achievement of the goals.
MCR could provide wide basis for discussions of the whole spectrum of water-related goals:
- Availability of and Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, the goals of the Millennium Declaration including the MDGs, Adaptation to Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Food Security. The HLIC in Dushanbe could provide an opportunity for in-depth discussions of the following aspects of the MCR – practicing IWRM, improving irrigation and agricultural water productivity, adaptation to climate change, mobilizing financial resources, strengthening institutional and technical capacities, gender, Africa’s water development, water governance.
Active participation of the representatives of business community (CEO Water Mandate), NGOs (Water Aid), and academia are welcomed and encouraged.
There are enough reports and materials with regard to water related goals. A summary/synthesis of those documents could provide background for discussions in the HLIC.
The HLIC could elaborate and develop an outcome that would cover inter alia the new challenges and would provide input for defining future steps at national, regional and international levels with full involvement of all relevant stakeholders. This outcome could be a Ministerial Declaration that incorporates concrete recommendations and proposals for further strengthening of efforts during the second half of the Decade in the achievement of internationally agreed water-related goals.
The outcome Ministerial Declaration would be presented by the host government to the General Assembly at its 65th session and, along with the President of the General Assembly’s summary of the 22 March HLD would inform deliberations at the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the same session.
Member states, agencies and entities of the United Nations system, particularly those who are members of UN-Water, are urged to ensure representation at the highest possible level at both the HLC and HIC and to support both events to the full extent of their means and capacities.
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