event 22 Jun 2021

Blog // Water Dialogues to accelerate cross-sectoral implementation of the 2030 Agenda

By Marie Grabka and Matthias Goerres. This article introcudes the upcoming highl-level conference Water Dialogues for Results on July 1, 2021 in Bonn, Germany. On the way to the mid-term review (MTR) of the UN Water Action Decade (2018-2028), the Water Dialogues for Results aim to accelerate SDG 6 implementation with an emphasis on cross-sectoral action.

Sulavesi coastal area Indonesia

Sulavesi coastal area, Indonesia© Olivier Gilard

"The lack of access to clean water and sanitation threatens fundamental human rights. [...] Water has to be taken into account in all areas."

This statement quotes German Federal Minister for the Environment (BMU), Svenja Schulze, at the High-Level Meeting on Water of the UN General Assembly in March 2021. It reflects the urgency of strengthened efforts to enhance progress on the water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda. On the way to the mid-term review (MTR) of the UN Water Action Decade (2018-2028), the Water Dialogues for Results aim to accelerate SDG 6 implementation with an emphasis on cross-sectoral action.


The concluded policy messages accentuates improved financing, use of data, holistic capacity development, innovation, and multilevel governance as the five key accelerators combined with specific recommendations for action on different stakeholder levels.​​​​​​​

Water Dialogues, pie chart

It is time to jointly fix the bucket.

Together with other UN Member States, participants from Major Groups and international organizations, the BMU led a steering committee to exchange reflections on political messages based upon extensive experience in the water and sanitation sector.

Four Regional Fora, from March to May 2021, aimed at understanding unique water and sanitation challenges to different regions in the world. The invited speakers highlighted not only the areas that need urgent action, but also opportunities to create synergies and profit from positive experiences.

Focusing on water alone will not bring us back on track.

Six Expert Roundtables in May marked another milestone of the participatory Water Dialogues for Results process and filled it with cross-sectoral life to receive further technical feedback beyond the silo thinking. The intense discussions at five roundtables on the accelerators for SDG 6 implementation, Capacity Development, Financing, Data and Information, Innovation, and Governance, sharpened the political messages and are published in an outcome document for each event.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

These partially parallel processes are to culminate in the High-Level Conference of the Water Dialogues on 1 July when the key political messages and action-oriented recommendations will be officially published and handed over for the preparations of the MTR of the Water Action Decade. A livestream on the website will provide the opportunity to everyone interested to follow the High-Level Conference in different languages (English with Arabic, French, Spanish translation).

The highly cross-sectoral character of water makes the scarce resource key for bringing sectors together and translating synergies into action. Therefore, especially participants from all related sectors of the 2030 Agenda are highly welcome to follow the process as it will need joint, cross-sectoral action to reach full speed on the way to fulfilling SDG 6 and subsequently also on the road to the majority of the other SDGs.

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