UN Water Conference: Antonio Guterres wants a bold and engaging agenda

A child washes at a drinking water fountain installed by UNICEF in Africa (illustration image). Unicef/Cherkaoui

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The last day of the UN Water Conference - it lasted three days and brought together 6,500 participants from around the world around 500 events. The United Nations wanted to mark the occasion, while according to Antonio Guterres, our "vampiric" consumption of water drains the vital resources of humanity, while a quarter of the world's population still does not have access to drinking water. It is impossible to obtain from countries a binding agreement like those resulting from COP 21 in Paris or COP 15 on biodiversity in Montreal in December 2022. The Secretary-General has called for a bold and engaging water agenda.


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With our correspondent in New York, Carrie Nooten

It is difficult to have an exhaustive overview of all the commitments made over the past three days, and it is by far the event of recent years that has mobilized the United Nations the most. The urgency is there: the United Nations water experts have recalled the delay in the development of drinking water, hygiene and sanitation - especially in Africa - where people are more likely to die from one of these deficiencies, rather than from a natural disaster.

Multiple responses

The responses multiplied: a group of 50 global companies, present in 130 countries, promised to make better use of water on their production lines to stop waste. A consortium of governments, industry and civil society members also pledged yesterday to eliminate all lead from drinking water.

And on the ecosystem side, the most important initiative to restore rivers and swamps, led in particular by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, was unveiled yesterday. The goal is to restore - by 2030 - 300,000 km of rivers, the equivalent of seven times around the earth.

Read also: A special UN conference to deal with the "freshwater crisis" that is coming

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  • UN
  • Water
  • Environment
  • Climate change
  • Antonio Guterres
  • Climate
  • Raw materials
  • Human rights