United Nations, World Bank Group Launch High Level Panel on Water

January 21, 2016

Call for Action on Water

January 21, 2016—The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank jointly announce their intention to form a new panel to mobilize urgent action towards the sustainable development goal for water and sanitation (SDG 6) and related targets. [1]

The announcement comes as countries experience water stress and water-related disasters that will grow worse due to climate change without better policy decisions.

Water is a precious resource, crucial to realizing the SDGs, which at their heart aim to eradicate poverty,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The new Panel can help motivate the action we need to turn ideas into reality. The United Nations system, including through UN Water and the United Nations development system’s universal operational presence, is committed to promote inclusive and country-led action on SDG6 and related targets.”

The panel, to be co-chaired by the Presidents of Mauritius and Mexico, will comprise a group of heads of State/Government from developed and developing countries, convened by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank Group to:

  • Motivate Action – Focus public policy dialogue, private sector models and practices and civil society initiatives towards the Water SDG; and
  • Advocate on financing and implementation – Promote efforts to mobilize financial resources and scale-up investment for the Water SDG, including through innovative financing and implementation strategies.

“Achieving the water global goal would have multiple benefits, including laying the foundations for food and energy security, sustainable urbanization, and ultimately climate security” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “My hope is that this panel accelerates action in many countries so that we can make water more accessible to all.”

The World Bank and UN will facilitate access to a variety of technical organizations to support the panel, including OECD, Stockholm International Water Institute, World Economic Forum, World Water Council, and World Resources Institute.

[1] Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2016

Facts and Figures

  • Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the global population and is projected to rise.
  • Floods and other water-related disasters account for 70 percent of all deaths related to natural disasters.
  • Over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.
  • More than 80 percent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal.
  • 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.
  • Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrheal diseases.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2016

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