"Water, Sanitation and Sustainable Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda", New York/USA

Debate // "Water, Sanitation and Sustainable Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda", New York/USA

This thematic debate is part of a series of three high-level events and three thematic debates convened by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The events are organized the theme, 'The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage!' and seek to initiate discussions on priority areas for the post-2015 development agenda through in-depth, interactive and participatory discussions, with the objective of generating concrete contributions to the formulation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The thematic debate will include an opening segment, three interactive stakeholder panel discussions and a closing segment. The debate will take place over one and a half days. Permanent Missions to the UN are invited to nominate Ministerial level representatives to co-chair panel discussions.

Water, sanitation and sustainable energy are at the core of sustainable development and the overarching goal of poverty eradication, and are closely linked to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Water and energy are also intimately linked in sustainable consumption and production patterns, and this relationship aggravates resource scarcity and conservation.

Achieving universal access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and modern energy services is one of the greatest multifaceted development challenges confronting the world today. The role of women and girls is also important, as in many countries they bear the burden of the provision of water and fuel for households and are susceptible to inter alia violence in the absence of adequate water and sanitation services. The post 2015 development agenda will have to respond to these challenges in a manner that allows both developed and developing countries to forge endogenous pathways that build resilience, contribute to the eradication of poverty and lead to sustainable development.


In building upon the deliberations undertaken in the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and other relevant fora, the thematic debate will provide an opportunity for participants to address key issues, such as:

~What are the main challenges we are facing in the water, sanitation and energy sectors hampering the achievement of the MDGs and how can these challenges be tackled in an integrated manner in a post 2015 development agenda with the overarching goal of poverty eradication, including through goals and targets?

~What concrete means of implementation (e.g finance infrastructure, human capacity, institutional reforms etc.) must governments, their international partners and other stakeholders undertake to ensure implementation?

~How can ecosystem approaches, science and technology know‐how, conservation measures and sustainable use be successfully utilized to increase action at all levels on water, sanitation and sustainable energy?

Format and Outcome

The thematic debate will take place on the 18‐19 February, 2014, in New York. In accordance with the letter of the President of the General Assembly to Member States dated on December 5th, 2013, it will consist of an opening segment in the morning and three consecutive, interactive, multi‐stakeholder panel discussions and a brief closing segment. A President's summary will be issued at its conclusion and will subsequently be made available to the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing for their consideration, as applicable.


Day 1

Opening ceremony: 10‐10:30am

-H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, President of the General Assembly

-H.E. Mr. Ban Ki‐moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

-Mr. Girish Menon, Deputy Director Water Aid, Civil Society Representative

Panel 1: The water and sanitation challenge


-Chair: Mr. Federico Ramos de Armas. Vice‐Minister for Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment; Spain

-Moderator: Dr Ania Grobicki — Executive Secretary, Global Water Partnership


-Identifying obstacles to achieving universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as other critical challenges to the sustainability of water resources

H.E. Ms. Michéle Pierre‐Louis, Former Prime Minister of Haiti, and President of FOKAL Foundation, LDC Independent Group

-Rights based approaches to water governance in the post 2015 development framework

Mr. Ashfaq Khalfan ‐ Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Policy Coordinator— Amnesty International

-Reflecting water and sanitation in the post‐2015 framework: Possible Goals and Targets

Mr. Manuel Thurnhofer, Senior Water Advisor, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation

-Means of Implementation and partnerships for development

Dr. Analia Mendez — Unilever

Feature Presentation: Ms Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur: The Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

Panel 2: The sustainable energy challenge


-Chair: H.E. Bartelemy Kasaa, Minister for Energy, Oil and Mineral Exploration, Water and Development of Renewable Energies, Benin

-Moderator: Professor Vijay Modi, Professor School of Engineering and Applied Science Faculty, Earth Institute, Columbia University

-National Integrated Sustainable Energy Systems, Energy Efficiency, Fuel Diversification and Renewable Energy

Professor Albert Binger, Energy Science Advisor, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

-National Policies and International Cooperation supporting Means of Implementation (Investment, Technology Transfer, Capacity Development and Regional Integration)

Dr Mike Allen —Special Envoy for Renewable Energy, New Zealand

-Reflecting Energy in the post‐2015 framework: Possible Goals and Targets

H.E. Mr. Geir O. Pederson, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations

Day 2

Panel 3: The Water Energy nexus


-Chair: H.E. Mr. Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations

-Moderator: Ms. Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator Rio+20 and Former Minister of Energy and Environment of Barbados

-Analytical framework and systematic assessment for the water‐energy nexus

Professor Upmanu Lall, Professor of Engineering, Columbia University

-Institutional Challenges for the Water‐Energy Nexus: The Arab Perspective

Mr. Najib Saab: Secretary General, Arab Forum for Environment & Development (AFED)

-Reflecting the water/energy nexus in the post‐2015 framework: Options and Considerations

Mr. Felix Dodds, Co‐Director, Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference

-Feature Presentation: Mr Wu Hungbo, United Nations, Under‐Secretary‐General for Economic and Social Affairs

Closing segment:

Summaries by the co chairs of the panels

-H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations

-H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, President of the General Assembly


The thematic debate will include participation of Member States at the highest possible level, Observers, UN Agencies and representatives of civil society, private sector, and other relevant stakeholders. Permanent Missions are invited to express to the President of the General Assembly their interest in co‐chairing an interactive panel discussion.

Additional details of this thematic debate including draft program will be communicated at a later stage.

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