The boldest commitments made at UN Water

Which organisations are making the most ambitious measurable commitments to help the world achieve SDG6 by 2030?

The UN Water Conference in New York held the week that GWI went to press convened all the players on the global water stage to wrangle with one big issue: they are not on track to achieve SDG6 by 2030. Around one in ten people still lacks access to clean water, and one in four does not have access to safe sanitation.

The watchword of the conference was to accelerate the drive towards achieving SDG6. To that end, the UN has asked water stakeholders to submit game-changing commitments to its Water Action Agenda.

At the time of writing, these commitments numbered 580, and still more were set to be announced over the following two days as the conference continued. The commitments vary from hyper-localised projects, to government pledges, to international investment funds. Very few of these commitments have measurable outcomes, and fewer still have an actual monetary investment attached to them.

GWI has tracked the 15 most ambitious measurable commitments made (or reinforced) at the UN Water Conference. But to achieve SDG6, we estimate that capital spending in the water sector needs to double, so these commitments are still only a first step and need to be catalysed, leveraged and accelerated if the water world is going to meet the targets established under the sustainable development goals.

  Commitment Organiser/s Deliverable for 2030


Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP)

African Union Commission

Mobilise an additional $30 billion per year for water and sanitation in Africa.


United States commitment to Global Water Security and Sanitation

United States

Series of commitments by US governmental agencies to invest $49 billion for water security and sanitation. This includes mainly domestic action to connect and improve water quality, but also international initiatives through USAID.


European Union commitment to mobilising and ensuring the sustainability of finance for water management

European Union

Between 2021 and 2027 under the Cohesion Policy, the EU will invest €12 billion for sustainable water management in the EU.


Private Sector Investment Commitment to Water Innovation

Xylem and other private water companies

Commitment by leading water companies to invest $11 billion in water innovation over the next five years to solve global challenges.


Kumamoto Initiative for Water

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan

Provide financial assistance worth JPY500 billion ($3.7 billion) for the development of quality infrastructure for water and sanitation across the Asia Pacific region.


Tap water in rural areas

Ministry of Water Resources of China

Reach 90% tap water coverage in rural areas in China by 2025.


Toilet Board Coalition 2030 Strategy

Toilet Board Coalition

Accelerate 1,000 sanitation economy businesses, thus unlocking $2 billion of investment into the sanitation economy.


Asia and the Pacific Water Resilience Initiative

Asian Development Bank

Mobilise at least $200 million of internal and external grant resources by 2026 to leverage $10 billion in climate change adaptation financing for the water sector in Asia and the Pacific region by 2030.


Business leaders’ open call to accelerate action on water

Water Resilience Coalition, CEO Water Mandate, UN Global Compact

Achieve water-positive impacts in 100 water basins worldwide, thus protecting the water resources serving 3 billion people, and providing water access for 300 million. 50 companies have signed the open call.


Doubling financial commitment to the Blue Deal

Dutch Water Authorities

Deploy €10 million per year between 2023 and 2030 for ‘soft capacity-building’, promoting knowledge-sharing and strong institutions.


Catalysing private capital for water and sanitation

Aqua for All, partnered with African and Dutch banks

Deploy $7.8 million of grant funding and catalyse $457 million in private capital towards achieving SDG6.


The 300 Group

Global Water Leaders Group

Create a network of 300 utiliites committed to delivering SDG6 to 300 million people by 2030.


Water Resilience Coalition Investment Portfolio

Water Resilience Coalition,

The US International Development Finance Corporation and five WRC member companies (Starbucks, Ecolab, Gap Inc., Reckitt, and DuPont) have committment $139 million to the portfolio’s first fund, WaterEquity’s Global Access Fund IV, out of a mid-2023 target of $150 million.


Water Access Acceleration Fund (W2AF)

Incofin Investment Management

The W2AF Funding Facility investment vehicle will mobilise between $50 million and $70 million for the drinking water sector.


UNICEF’s game plan to accelerate safely managed sanitation for all


Reach 1 billion more people with safely managed sanitation via UNICEF support, through a $4.8 million grant.

Source: UN

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