For three days in late March, United Nations member states came together in an effort to accelerate progress towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 - universal access to safe water and sanitation by 2030.
Right now, progress is very much off track. According to the World Health Organization, about two billion people worldwide, or one out of every four, don’t have access to safe drinking water. Nearly 3.6 billion people, nearly half the world’s population, lack safe sanitation. Due to contaminated water and inadequate sanitation, around 1.4 million people die of water-borne diseases each year while 74 million more live shortened lives. It gets worse--if this crisis is allowed to continue, global water demand will increase by 55 percent by 2050.
That is why the Biden-Harris Administration decided to make an enormous investment in global water security.
“To meet this moment, the Biden-Harris administration has launched an all-of-government approach to secure essential water resources for current and future generations,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on the first day of the Water Conference.
“I am honored to announce that as part of our commitments to the Water Action Agenda, the United States is contributing up to $49 billion in investments to ensure that climate-resilient water and sanitation remain a priority worldwide,” he said. “This includes the release of the White House Action Plan on Global Water Security and the US Global Water Strategy. Both will strengthen local and global systems to meet the needs of underserved communities.”
“Water is life,” said Secretary Haaland. “It is essential to everything we do, from cooking our meals and raising our children to growing crops and stopping the spread of a deadly virus during a global pandemic. Sustainable Development Goal 6 is central to meeting all our Global Goals. But we still have a long road ahead,” she said.
“Drought and other impacts of the climate crisis know no boundaries, and the communities with the least resources to protect themselves suffer the most. This makes our collective, inclusive efforts even more important.”
“Together, our nations are confronting a pivotal moment in our work to address the interlocking climate and water crises,” said Secretary Haaland. “Our Sustainable Development Goals are – at their core – shared values to expand economic opportunity, care for our planet, uphold and defend human rights, and make sure no person or community is left behind.”