Remarks by Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the General Assembly, at COP27 Plenary Session on the UN 2023 Water Conference contribution toward the success

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November 14, 2022

Thank you.

I want to start by congratulating the Egyptian Presidency by having the first day focusing on water.

Water is an integral part of the climate agenda. In order to make sure the money is invested in much, much more efficient ways, for that we need to build a process of transformation. Crystallised in certain events, decisions and goals.

For that we need to build a process of transformation. Crystallized in certain events, decisions and goals.

Hank [Ovink] has mentioned that on October 24th and 25th, we had two days consultations. On the first day we had 1200 participants from all around the world, representing all stakeholders, science, youth, women, practitioners.

And we asked them – what would be your take to make sure that we change the course of events in water management? Because obviously we are lagging way behind where we want to be.

Where are those points?

Where are those elements which can help us turn the whole story?

Where are the game changers?

It was a very, very interesting discussion throughout the whole two days.

Let me flesh out some, very quickly, some of the game changers that experts in the room suggested that if we go for that, we may have a very different story.

First and foremost, I’m sure the Minister will speak about it – refer to the work of the climate leaders.

We need to think in terms of integrated water climate policy. What does it mean? We need to integrate not only policies but also decision-making processes, data bases and benchmarks.

We need to have an early-warning initiative for all in the world in the forthcoming five years.

It is a huge project, and this project has been agreed on by the UN Secretary-General as well.

We need to bring in very concrete details about how to integrate water and climate policies.

We need to re-establish a water management information system. We don’t have it yet. We have separate databases for water, climate, weather. Even on a national basis, sometimes these are separate databases. We have nothing of the same kind globally.

We are in a very difficult position to answer to the question – what kind of and how much water can be relied on.

We need to create a shared global water information data base system.

We need to have an open-science-based validation mechanism for resilience and sustainability in water. We don’t have that scientific backup as a whole system for the SDG implementation so it has to come to that level as well.

But for sustainable water management, it is definitely needed very, very urgently.

For reaching every policy decision, we need to provide a scientific backup – not only for the decision-taking but for the implementation as well.

We need to have global system of water cleaning centres and networks.

The most lacking capabilities in the implementation of SDG-6 and the sustainability transformation is the insufficient number of water experts at various levels.

That will not be able to be created on national levels alone. We need global network of institutions.

Last and not least, we need to reframe the economic cost of water inaction. We used to talk about how much it would cost to improve the water infrastructure, we used to talk about how much it would cost to include education system but we have never talked about how much how much water inaction costs.

In many, many countries now. We are losing much more money than what we imagined. So we need to be water and climate smart just the same way as we described by the Aware initiative. We need to make sure that the system we are trying to built is creating trust among membership, creating shared knowledge and resulting in improved deliberations.

To run to that course, the next big event which will be the UN Water Conference in March co-hosted event by the Ministers of Netherlands and Tajikistan, where the five themes for the discussion have been identified already. You wouldn’t be surprised. All of them are cross-cutting issues. Then we turn our attention to Sendai Midterm Review in May, and all this leads up to the SDG Summit of World Leaders in September 2023

If we do this right we can achieve the following things.

First, we may have global, good understanding and forward-looking, strategy-making, solution-oriented game-changers for sustainable transformation.

Second, we can give a good blueprint of the implementation of the SDGs.

Last but not least, we can give the backbone of the transformation.

This is the project.

These are the leaders standing there.

These are all the big actors and they’re all invited.

Please join us.

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