Water and Sanitation is a Human Right

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma will on Wednesday open the United Nations World Water Day Summit and Expo under the theme “Water and Sanitation is a Human Right”.

South Africa will host the three-day Summit and Expo through the Department of Water and Sanitation in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and United Nations Water at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, in Durban.

The summit will also provide an opportunity to launch the 17th edition of UN’s World Water Development Report (WWDR), which focuses on the critical role of wastewater management for vibrant economies, resilient societies and the maintenance of healthy environments across the globe.

President Zuma, in his capacity as the member of the High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) will launch the initiative on “Access to Water and Sanitation for 10 Billion- People” on behalf of the HLPW panel, which is convened and co-chaired by the United Nations Secretary General and the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Kim.

The President will deliver a Declaratory Statement on behalf of the panel, outlining the Panel Action Plan to the WWDR as will inform the roll out activities.

Updating the media on the upcoming event during a media briefing held in Pretoria on Tuesday, Water and Sanitation Director-General Dan Mashidiso said it has become so important for the world to unite and work together at this level to mitigate challenges faced by different countries in the provision of enough water resource and safe quality drinking water.

“These challenges are witnessed in the different regions hence the ‘Call for Action’ in the transformation and provision of water, valuing water, data provision, partnerships, improved infrastructure, financing for infrastructure development, transboundary management, policy development, and support for fragile States on water cooperation,” said Mashidiso.

The main activities of the conference will include the High Level Panel and Technical Experts who will interact with conference participants on key technical aspects through facilitated plenary discussions.

The Summit Commissions will be focused on in-depth analysis of prevailing challenges, identify practical solutions and recommend plans of action on scaling up the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 .

Goal 6 is about ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

This goal means that water and sanitation are the very core of sustainable development, critical to human survival and the environment.

Mashidiso said towards the end of the summit, more time will be dedicated to peer interaction and networking sessions.

“These sessions shall be devoted to information exchange, discourse and experience sharing amongst stakeholders. Various learning stations and exhibition stalls will be mounted to facilitate information sharing with participants.”

The summit comes at an opportune time when the country is celebrating Human Rights Month and World Water Day.

World Water Day is observed annually on 22 March since 1993 under the auspice of the United Nations. The United Nations noted and endorsed this calendar day and month to broaden the global focus on water related issues. – SAnews.gov.za

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