A high-level UN panel met in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on November 27 to discuss innovative policy and funding interventions that would help countries realize universal access to these critical services.
His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, who chairs the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, said after the meeting that “improved sanitation and water services will advance development and promote social cohesion, political stability in a world experiencing an explosion in population and urbanization.”
“Our focus is to further the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water and sanitation and ensure that a post-2015 momentum is sustained in line with a new sustainable development framework established in June Rio+ 20 summit,” the Prince added.
He told OOSKAnews that the high-level group was focusing on water supply, wastewater management and improved resource management to realize food and energy security.
“We are advising the UN Secretary General on actions to be taken to address water and sanitation crises, alongside informing him of emerging threats like water-related disasters and waterborne diseases,” he said.
He reiterated that while most countries have achieved the MDG targets on water, negligible investment and political attention have hampered progress on sanitation.
A dialogue on energy water-food-energy nexus should take center stage in policy discourse to help countries achieve an inclusive, low-carbon development model, he said. He urged countries to develop innovative policy and legal tools to promote efficient resource utilization as their growing populations and industrialization put pressure on natural resources.
“With more than 7 billion people on the planet, it is our responsibility to find how to meet our needs more efficiently. There is immense pressure on natural resources like fresh water but a nexus approach will provide long-term solution to this challenge,” he said.
Uschi Eid, vice chair of the advisory board and former Parliamentary State Secretary at Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development,said improved water management, pollution control and wastewater recycling and reuse are among the steps needed to promote green growth and advance human welfare.
“We are rallying governments towards water and sanitation agenda and encouraging them to mainstream these sectors in their national development plans,” Eid said.
She stressed that good governance will enable countries realize universal access to water and sanitation.