IUCN experts are attending the Budapest Water Summit, taking place 8-11 October, which will gather the international community to form a recommendation to the UN for a Sustainable Development Goal focused on water and sanitation.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of the main outcomes from the Rio+20 UN Conference in June 2012, will build on the Millennium Development Goals and guide the post 2015 development agenda.
The Rio+20 UN Conference confirmed the cross-cutting importance of water in sustainable development and recognized how important healthy ecosystems are in securing and managing water resources. In its outcome document, “The Future We Want”, governments of the world said that they “recognise the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality, and support actions... to protect and sustainably manage these ecosystems.”
Forest soils, aquifers, lakes and wetlands provide water storage, wetlands filter water, floodplains and wetlands lower flood peaks for downstream cities, while mangroves and coral reefs protect coasts against storms and floods.
"We are encouraged by the attention that a proposed Sustainable Development Goal on water is receiving,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director-General. “Nature offers huge opportunities to support the achievement of such a goal. It would also enable us to secure the human right to water and sanitation, enhance people’s individual dignity and livelihoods, and boost development and growth.”
Following the Rio+20 Conference, the IUCN Water Programme actively supported the UN-led Post 2015 Consultation Process by leading the Sub-stream 'Water for Nature, Nature for Water'. The IUCN framing paper that guided the consultation process stipulates the intricate link between water and development, providing solutions and examples for ways forward (the PDF can be downloaded from this link).
"Solutions for water security that incorporate natural infrastructure are known to work", says Mark Smith, Director of the IUCN Global Water Programme."These can enhance efficiency, effectiveness and equity, but also spur implementation and progress towards long-term availability of water for all",
The Budapest Water Summit will also focus on key questions such as 'What new opportunities for public and private sector investment will emerge through valuing ecosystem services?', 'How will understanding of economic returns from investing in ecosystems as ‘natural infrastructure’ change investment priorities?'.
"Water is essential to economic development", says Alejandro Iza, Director of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. "Likewise, ecosystem services -and the value they deliver to the economy- depend on water. Good water governance will be central to the emerging concepts of a ‘green economy’".
The Water Summit will take place in Budapest, Hungary, from 8-11 October 2013. For more information on the Budapest Water Summit, please visit: www.budapestwatersummit.hu