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Preparations for the UN 2023 Water Conference: how the ISC is involved

On 24 and 25 October 2022, an ISC delegation is in New York City for a stakeholder consultation and a preparatory meeting for the UN Water Conference that will take place in March 2023.

The UN 2023 Water Conference will be held in New York City, United States, from 22 to 24 March 2023. As themes for the interactive dialogues, the co-hosts of the conference (the Republic of Tajikistan and the Netherlands) have proposed water for health, development, climate, resilience and environment; water for cooperation, and the Water Action Decade. The conference will result in a summary of proceedings that will feed directly into the 2023 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2023).

In preparation for the Water Conference, two preparation meetings are being held this week. The first, on 24 October, is a Stakeholder Consultation to ensure the meaningful participation of all relevant stakeholders in the conference. The second, on 25 October, is the Preparatory Meeting, which will finalize the themes of the interactive dialogues and other organizational matters.

While the multiple and varied impacts of the pandemic on economies and social systems are still fresh on our minds, COVID-19 also demonstrated the crucial importance of access to safe water and sanitation in the fight against and in the prevention of diseases. And with climate change impacting the water cycle, increasing its variability, straining resources, increasing the likelihood of disaster risks, and pushing populations to migrate, the scientific community has a responsibility to advocate for access to water for all as an essential resource for the welfare of human populations.

An ISC delegation composed of Anthony Rock and Frank Winde will be in New York this week to participate in the two meetings, attending a roundtable discussion and delivering a statement on behalf of the International Science Council.

The delegation will underline the complexity of societal water issues and how science is best suited to disentangle them and provide evidence-based advice to improve the credibility of political decision-making. It will also advocate for the necessity of a more holistic approach to better integrate the different viewpoints of water-related disciplines from natural as well as social sciences. The delegation will also take the opportunity to reiterate the ISC’s commitment to action-oriented science, so the search for innovative, game-changing solutions to practical problems relevant to water can be expanded on the ground.

Thanks to its Membership, bringing together over 200 natural and social science bodies from around the world, and its relationships within the United Nations system as a scientific advisory body, the International Science Council is uniquely positioned to coordinate and facilitate water science across disciplinary boundaries on a global level.

“Science-based measures for sustainable water management have the greatest prospect of success when coupled with strengthened public understanding of the scientific process – a strong science-policy-society interface, with all perspectives carefully considered.”

– Excerpt from the Statement of the International Science Council for the UN 2023 Water Conference Preparatory Meeting.

Image by the United States Geological Survey on Unsplash.

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