Launch of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 Global Acceleration Framework for Water and Sanitation

Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly


Distinguished delegates,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Let me begin by thanking the co-chairs for giving me the opportunity to express my support to the renewed international commitment for SDG-6.  I would also like to congratulate all the UN agencies involved, particularly the UN Water, on the successful launch of the SDG-6 Global Acceleration Framework.

We all know water is life, yet COVID-19 has added a whole new light to its value. Handwashing remains a key part of the response to stop the spread of virus. Sadly, over 2 billion people in our world do not have access to hand washing facilities at home and another one billon get it only intermittently.

Even before the pandemic, access to water was recognized as key to sustainable development – so vividly expressed in the 2030 agenda. On one hand, human health and productivity require safe drinking water and sanitation. On the other, water resource allocation, management and sustainability remain vital to unlocking the full potential of global economy, including in the agriculture sector- which is the mainstay of many developing countries.

We must prioritize domestic and subsistence needs. It is not possible to eradicate poverty without ensuring clean water accessibility for essential human needs.


Water security is crucial for maintaining peace between households, communities and in fact even nations. Almost 60 percent of freshwater flows through over 250 water basins, distributed between 148 countries. Given the fragmented distribution, the only way we can manage the global water resources efficiently is through multilateral cooperation. The goal to provide safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 will remain elusive without harmony and synergy in our actions and policies related to water.

We have seen the fruits of world’s collective wisdom in the form of SDG’s, which for the first time set the targets and indicators for hygiene. In the implementation phase, we need a similar commitment from the international community. Currently, the low and middle income countries lose over 800,000 people every year due to poor Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities. Although open defecation has sharply declined in recent decades, the challenge still persists. To leave no one behind, let us focus on those who still remain deprived of such basic sanitation facilities.

As populations surge and temperatures rise, the stress on water and sanitation infrastructure is exacerbated. In many regions, drought is escalating water scarcity, triggering the vicious cycle of land degradation and economic deprivation of vulnerable communities.

Luckily, we have the solutions and technologies to overcome the challenges. What we need is the political commitment – to scale up the solutions and make them cost effective. Certainly, economic slowdown has constrained our fiscal space. But we can overcome the challenge through improved system efficiency, based on an integrated approach for clean water supply, sanitation and wastewater management. To improve sustainability, we must focus on every stage of water cycle – from freshwater extraction, distribution, usage, collection, treatment to the use of treated wastewater and its release to the environment. It is also vital from the perspective of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

To deliver on the promise of SDG-6, the launch of Global Acceleration Framework is reassuring. It aims to target those ‘furthest behind first’, which resonates with the commitment of the 2030 agenda.

I would also like to commend the plan to strengthen multi-stakeholder cooperation and coordination. Given its unifying theme, the initiative will help galvanize synergies to accelerate the progress toward 2030 targets.


As we build back better, let us ensure the access to clean water and sanitation for everyone.  If we succeed, it would secure much needed privacy for women and girls in many rural areas; save them from the ordeal of fetching water over long distances; free up time for education and other productive activities; and improve their own and their offspring’s health and life expectancy.

In fact, achieving SDG-6 will fulfill a fundamental human right. It will be a sign of a more humane world, with fewer inequalities.

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