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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Overview of Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals – adopted in the Summit of Prime Ministers and Heads of State between 25 and 27 September 2015 – are based on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

At the 2000 Millennium Summit, the Millennium Development Goals – adopted by the international community serving as a global guideline for development policy – were replaced or extended by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sustainable Development Goals create a new framework comprising universal goals, targets and indicators. The UN Member States should take into account this framework (Post-2015 Agenda) when setting out their development policies for the following 15 years.

Why are “new” goals needed?

There is general consensus that the MDGs proved to be very narrow in the face of complex challenges emerging in the world today. It is well-demonstrated by the fact that more than 600 million people world-wide are unable to access good quality drinking water, while almost 1 billion people are forced to live on USD 1.25 per day.

The package of proposals for sustainable development comprises 17 goals and 169 targets.

17 Sustainable Development Goals Image: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/news/communications-material/

The targets of the Clean Water and Sanitation (Sustainable Development Goal 6) are

6.1 by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all;

6.2 by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations;

6.3 by 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and increasing recycling and safe reuse by x% globally;

6.4 by 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity, and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity;

6.5 by 2030 implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate;

6.6 by 2020 protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes;

6.a by 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water and sanitation related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies;

6.b support and strengthen the participation of local communities for improving water and sanitation management.

How could the Sustainable Development Goals be selected?

In contrast with MDGs, the United Nations had launched the greatest consultation programme of its history for specifying the substance of SDGs.

The Rio+20 Conference held in July 2012 initiated an intergovernmental process to elaborate the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Open Working Group set up for this purpose, with a Hungarian co-chair and involving representatives from 70 UN Member States started to work out the Sustainable Development Goals early 2013. The Open Working Group put forward its summary report with the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals to the UN General Assembly in September 2014.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, an agreement was reached at expert level in August 2015. On the first day of the Sustainable Development Summit held between 25 and 27 September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted its resolution “A/RES 70/1 – Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".

When did the new goals come into effect?

The new goals came into effect from 1 January 2016 and shall expire in 2030.

How can the implementation of new goals be measured?

A group of experts has been working on the development of indicators. For each targets to be monitored, two indicators are available and assessed in terms of feasibility, suitability and relevance.

What outcome is hoped from the implementation of Clean Water and Sanitation - Sustainable Development Goals 6 – SDG6?

The implementation of Clean Water and Sanitation – Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) is expected to contribute to the implementation of other Development Goals beyond the issue of water. Inter alia, it will contribute to poverty reduction, food security and healthy life, giving a better access to energy for all and providing for the countries to be able to manage climate change and the impact thereof.

Further information: sustainabledevelopment.un.org

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