Global water challenges are at last receiving the attention that they should have decades ago and have, as per the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, been designated as one of the 17 top priorities for humanity.
Water has never been this visible at a global level before, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their measurable targets and 2030 Timeline present an opportunity for a breakthrough to accelerate the task of providing universal access to safe water and sanitation, as well as to transform the water sector into a sustainable, resilient driver of the circular economy.
Although the SDGs are not legally binding on governments, they will have to report on their national achievement, which is a strong incentive to act to achieve the targets, especially taking into consideration the higher visibility of the problems in political and public arenas.
It is critical that water professionals make an effective contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6, and all water-related Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.
The International Water Association (IWA) adopted a resolution in October 2016 to help extend international assistance and cooperation to both national and local governments, as well as to other stakeholders seeking to achieve the SDGs.
The SDG framework and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is closely linked to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and, specifically in the case of SDG6, to the human rights of access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
The attainment of SDG6 will be reliant upon the achievement of various other SDGs, and will also therefore demand close collaboration between governments, society and business at local, national and international levels.
The Governing Assembly of the International Water Association, understanding the level of cooperation that will be required between governments, society, business, water professionals, researchers and practitioners, has committed to support governments at all levels in realising their commitments towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.