Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations 2nd Committee: Adoption of the Resolution on Water for Sustainable Development

New York, 28/11/2018 - 18:02, UNIQUE ID: 181129_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

28 November 2018, New York – Statement by the European Union at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Second Committee Midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development,” 2018-2028: General Statement after adoption

The EU is joining consensus today on the resolution on a "mid-term review of the UN Decade on Water". We are looking forward to working with our partners in the preparations to the two forthcoming events in 2021 and 2023 so that they can help accelerate progress towards the achievement of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda which is urgently needed. In that regard, the UN Decade on Water is an important communication tool and instrument which we fully support. 

Following the negotiations and the compromise reflected in the final text, we would like to clarify our position on a number of issues today:

  • The EU remains firmly committed to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, including its water-related goals and targets and in particular SDG6. The EU recognizes that acknowledging interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda is essential for achieving all the goals. The 2030 Agenda is the guiding framework for our actions and accelerating progress towards its implementation must be the focus of our attention. It is therefore regrettable that some parties felt unable to include explicit reference to SDG6 and other water related SDGs in a resolution that directly impacts upon them. Also capacity building efforts should focus on supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda which reflects the agreement of the international community on priority areas for action, including on water. We understand the wording "internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those of the 2030 Agenda" in that spirit.
  • We need urgent action to scale up and accelerate progress towards SDG6 and other water-related goals and targets – as highlighted by the UN-Water Synthesis report on SDG6. This is the objective of the High Level meeting in 2021 as proposed by the EU and agreed in the resolution.
  • Governments alone cannot achieve the 2030 Agenda and strong engagement of stakeholders is essential for the achievement of all SDGs as we have acknowledged in many documents.  It is therefore important that we enable stakeholders from different sectors, ranging from civil society and academia to the private sector, to fully participate in discussions in related events, such as the two mentioned in this resolution in 2021 and 2023. For the 2023 UN Conference, the modalities resolution to be negotiated in the 75th session will provide the occasion to agree on the necessary arrangements and we will engage with the President of the General Assembly to ensure the same for the 2021 high- level meeting. 
  • Regarding UN decades, we remain of the view that a mid-term review does not usually warrant a UN conference, and we consider the conference agreed in this resolution an exceptional one, related to the great need for accelerating progress with regard to the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, as recognized in the HLPF ministerial declaration. It is for this reason that our stance on extending the scope of the conference was explicitly mentioned in all rounds of informal consultations. Similarly, we remain of the view that UN conferences should as a rule conclude with a negotiated outcome. With regard to both, the compromise found in this resolution does not reflect a change of our position on this and should not constitute a precedent for future cases.
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