Sanitation at the UN Water Conference 2023


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  • beniland
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Re: New Blog! How the UN got thirsty again after 46 years

The  UN 2023 Water Conference  took place in New York on 22-24 March, 46 years after the last UN water conference in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The 1977 conference led directly to the UN water decade of the 1980s with an avowed aim of achieving 'water for all'. Perhaps overly ambitious, given the ensuing global crises, decades later some two  billion people still live without safe drinking water and 3.6 billion lack safely managed sanitation. Added to which only 56% of domestic wastewater  is safely treated.

Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences) and Alan Nicol (IWMI) share their thoughts on the Water Alternatives website after attending the UN 2023 Water Conference.

Read the full blog here:

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  • abisheknarayan
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  • Researcher at Eawag-Sandec. Interests in Sanitation Planning, Urban WASH, CWIS. Co-Lead for WG-6 on Cities. Follow me on Twitter @abishek_water
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Sanitation at the UN Water Conference 2023

Dear all, 

Many of us WASH and specifically sanitation enthusiasts from SuSanA and beyond, were at the UN Water Conference 2023 in New York last month. As we have all gotten time to perhaps digest the major learnings from the conference, I though it would be useful to share them here on the forum for everyone's benefit. 

Few personal learnings:
  1. In almost all WASH sessions I attended, Sanitation and Water were emphasised as two sides of the same coin. This seems to be a change from before, where sanitation was often not discussed or discussed in our own silos. 
  2. Climate and resilience was always mentioned in the discussion. Although there seems to be an increasing body of work on this topic, the specifics of climate's role in sanitation and vice versa was often not discussed in detail. 
  3. Inclusion was a major topic - both of gender and marginalised communities, but also of sanitation workers. There was a big exhibition of water related photographs in which sanitation workers were prominently featured. 
  4. Urban sanitation got a lot of attention in other water in cities session. Right from resilience to regeneration using nutrient recovery, there were many who emphasised it.  
  5. COVID19 and public health conversations gave a huge boost to the weightage sanitation had in the room. With the explosion of Wastewater based epidemiology, sanitation seemed to find its way back to public health roots. 
Attached is a picture from an overflowing Inclusive Sanitation event jointly hosted by IWA among others. 

I am curious to hear the reflections from other SuSanA members who were at the UN conference. 

Abishek S Narayan
Co-lead for SuSanA WG-6: Cities
Researcher, Eawag-Sandec
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @abishek_water

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