On behalf of the Permanent Representatives of the Steering Committee of the Friends of Water group, Ambassador Katalin Bogyay hosted a successful working lunch at the Hungarian mission to the United Nations on 10 February. Nearly a hundred participants, including a significant number of Permanent Representatives gathered to discuss the latest developments in the international water arena and gave a fresh impetus to the implementation of water-related Sustainable Development Goals and targets of Agenda 2030. The co-moderator role of Tajikistan and Hungary conducting two informal working level dialogues on the topic in the General Assembly marks the start of a new chapter.

From the members of the Friends of Water Steering Committee, the Permanent Representative of Finland Kai Sauer gave an update on recent water related events since the last meeting of the group. The Deputy Permanent Representative of Thailand Chulamanee Chartsuwan provided an overview of the activities and functioning of the informal setup. The Permanent Representative of Tajikistan Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov de-briefed the participants about the adoption of the resolution declaring 2018-2028 the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”. From Hungary’s side, Ambassador Katalin Bogyay shared the outcome messages of the Budapest Water Summit.

Valuable ideas were pronounced as inputs to the upcoming informal working level dialogue on improving the integration and coordination of the work of the United Nations on water related SDGs and targets, to be co-moderated by Tajikistan and Hungary on 22 March under the auspices of the President of the General Assembly. Beside the Permanent Representative of Switzerland Jürg Lauber as Steering Committee member, the Ambassadors of Cabo Verde, Morocco, Peru, Jordan, Afghanistan, Singapore, Indonesia, Belarus, Lebanon and Albania also enriched the joint thinking of the group. Mauritius and Mexico informed about the work of the High Level Panel on Water, with the participation of world leaders around the globe. 

The lunch discussion embraced the spirit that this dialogue process has the potential to become a new movement for catalysing the implementation of Agenda 2030 and specifically of SDG6 ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Participants largely welcomed that the process should be inclusive, open-ended and interactive, having on board Member States, representatives of the UN System, civil society, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders. The Friends of Water group will follow-up the ideas heard at expert level in order to contribute to a fruitful exchange of views on 22 March.