Statement by H.E. Ambassador Katalin Bogyay, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN at the event entitled “Women’s role and involvement in measuring the progress of SDG 6: How should we monitor and report on water and gender issues?” on 18 March 2016.
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by quoting a Hungarian Nobel laureate physicist, Mr. Dénes Gábor. He said: „Until today man has fought nature. From now on man has to fight his own nature.” This in an ever more relevant and quoted ascertainment in the context of water, as we are facing with a looming, man-induced water crisis.
The excessive growth of global population and the rapidly changing climatic conditions necessitate a fundamental shift in the mindsets and in how we manage our freshwater resources. Without responsible and sustainable management of water the stable environment ensuring the livelihood of future generations cannot be maintained. The challenges faced by our ecosystem and natural resources also demand adaptive and integrated management of water resources.
With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDG6 we now have a clear pathway towards realizing sustainable management of water. It also has to be understood that water will be a key enabler in achieving a multitude of other, directly and indirectly related goals and targets.
It is clear that for effective implementation of the SDGs, a robust, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework is needed. However, the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) concluded in its final report that there is currently a mismatch between the integrated and ambitious Agenda 2030 vision of freshwater and sanitation management and the international political structures available to contribute to its implementation and its follow-up and review. The report makes a number of structural recommendations to address the shortcomings, first and foremost, on the creation of a UN intergovernmental body for comprehensive and integrated follow-up and
review of water related goals and targets, as already recommended by the Budapest Statement adopted at the 2013 Budapest Water Summit.
Such an intergovernmental body would enable regular dialogue among governments and stakeholders at the global level to provide guidance and recommendations for implementation of the SDGs targets related to water, while feeding into the High-Level Political Forum. This body would also offer a forum for knowledge exchange and mutual learning and for building partnerships for implementation and cooperation.
The body would safeguard an integrated water perspective in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, while reflecting interlinkages with other themes, such as gender equality, thereby allowing the High-Level Political Forum to carry out its mandate fully and comprehensively.
Integrated monitoring of progress will be a prerequisite for full and effective implementation. The intergovernmental body would therefore be tasked to coordinate monitoring and evaluation for water related targets, including the means of implementation to provide a comprehensive assessment of the progress in implementation.
Member States have made a fundamental step towards an effective follow-up and review system, including in the field of water, when the Statistical Commission last week agreed as a practical starting point with the proposed global indicator framework and asked the Inter- Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators to continue its activities. With a view to start measuring progress and collecting data in a timely fashion, Member States will have to politically endorse this package without delays.
Driven by the recognition that water is a key natural resource in the implementation of the interlinked and integrated sustainable development agenda, Hungary will be hosting the Budapest Water Summit 2016 (BWS 2016), a high-profile conference and expo to be held between 28 and 30 November 2016 in Budapest. The aim of the three-day event is to promote in a very concrete manner the implementation of the sustainable development water goal and all related targets on water and sanitation, as well as to achieve progress on the implementation of the water-related aspects of the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition to giving momentum to implementation, the conference would link political decision-making closer with technology development, financing and public perceptions on sustainable water management, and facilitate the reform of international institutional architecture supporting cooperation on water. The mission of the Summit is to send the message for all the countries and stakeholders that helping sustainable water resources development should be the source of cooperation and peace.
The Summit will be accompanied by events focusing on key stakeholders: business, the scientific community, civil society, youth, and women.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Empowerment of women and girls, the promotion of gender equality is also a cornerstone of the Hungarian agenda and as well as a deal breaker in achieving sustainable development. The establishment of a dedicated goal and the mainstreaming of gender equality throughout the SDG framework were important first steps, now we have to make sure that gender inclusiveness is also ingrained in our efforts towards implementation.
This is especially valid in the case of SDG6, as women play an essential role in realizing sustainable water management and in achieving a water-secure world. The close interlinkages between SDG5 and SDG6 cannot be overlooked during implementation. Likewise, it is essential that sustainable water management is gender inclusive and recognizes the important role of women as agents of change and takes into account the specific challenges women and girls face.
We know well that worldwide, an estimated 2.5 billion people – half of the developing world – lack access to adequate sanitation. This needs urgent action. But we also know that gender- sensitive water management means much more that just access to adequate sanitation. Women and girls are traditionally responsible for domestic water supply and sanitation, bearing the responsibility of fetching water, often going at long distances and exposing themselves to unsafe circumstances on the way. These women often live in conflict and post-conflict areas and are vulnerable to assault and sexual violence. In addition to the obvious effects on health, lack of access to clean water and sanitation has a huge detrimental effect on the education opportunities and outcomes of women and girls.
Sustainable management of water resources and sanitation, on the other hand, provides great benefits to families and the society as a whole.
But apart from highlighting the impact of water management on gender equality, we must also emphasize how women’s participation is necessary for effective water management.
Studies show that projects designed and run with the full participation of women are more sustainable and effective than those that doesn’t include women, especially in the field of water and sanitation management. It is therefore imperative that women participate and play leadership roles in sustainable water management decision-making, capacity building, education and mobilizing political will. We must support these women in reaching their full potential and advance a gender perspective in the implementation of the SDGs at national, regional and the global level.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to take the opportunity and invite everyone to an event on women, sustainable development and ICTs, convened by Women for Water Partnership, UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme, Business and Professional Women International and Soroptimist
International, to be held at the Permanent Mission of Hungary from 5pm today. The aim of the event is to discuss the way forward in empowering women in managing and monitoring water resources and to highlight some concrete examples of modern technologies in this regard.
Thank you for your attention.