Budapest, Hungary, 16 Oct 2013

UNESCO-IHE contributes to The Budapest Water Summit Statement

From 8 to 11 October 2013 the Budapest Water Summit was held with the principal objective to take stock of the various developments in preparing the water-related goal for the post-2015 development agenda. Prof. András Szöllösi-Nagy, Rector of UNESCO-IHE, was Chair of the International Program Committee as well as that of the Drafting Group. Therefore, he was one of the key players in the process of drafting and finalizing the Budapest Water Summit Statement.

This Budapest Water Summit Statement reflects the results of the thematic sessions and Forum discussions held during the Summit. Because such a statement requires support and input from multiple stakeholders, sessions were held in civil society, science, youth and business fora. The outcomes of these sessions led to a statement with broad support and clear recommendations towards the new set of Sustainable Development Goals.

SMART(ER) and dedicated water goal

One of the main recommendations of the Budapest Water Summit is to develop a dedicated and comprehensive Sustainable Development Goal on Water, which should strive for a "Water-Secure World". This goal should clearly address the inter-linkages to the other Sustainable Development Goals. Developing this dedicated goal is crucial in achieving the agreed upon Millennium Development Goal targets related to water and sanitation.

In addition, a robust intergovernmental institutional mechanism is recommended in order to monitor the progress of the implementation of this water and sanitation goal in an integrated manner. The way these intergovernmental mechanisms should be structured has not yet been defined, but setting-up a panel is one of the examples of how that could be shaped. In the video interview displayed in the sidebar, Andras Szollosi-Nagy gives a more detailed explanation of how these mechanisms could be put in place as transpired during the Summit discussions.

During the closing ceremony Szollosi-Nagy, who facilitated the adoption of the Statement, highlighted that the targets should be formulated SMART(ER), allowing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (Evaluated and Re-evaluated) targets. 

Education and capacity development for water

During many discussions the importance of capacity development has been expressed. "In this context, the lack of trained professionals and delivery capacities is a recognized limitation toward attaining meaningful goals", is what's stated in the final statement. This lack of well-trained professionals, in combination with the complexity of emerging water-related issues, asks for a focus on education.

UNESCO-IHE representation at Budapest Water Summit

Besides the role of Andras Szollosi-Nagy in the drafting process and the presentation of the final statement, UNESCO-IHE was involved in many sessions, panel discussions and side-events. For example, Vice Rector Prof. Stefan Uhlenbrook and Prof. Joyeeta Gupta both took part in a session about Good Water Governance. Moreover, Uta Wehn de Montalvo was one of the panelists in a high level discussion focused on how water should be wisely governed with SMART SDG's, while Prof. Ken Irvine and Prof. Jan Leentvaar were involved in sessions as well.

UNESCO-IHE students at Youth Forum

Since the pay-off of the Budapest Water Summit was: "Give the future a chance!", it was logical that the summit would give the next generation the opportunity to let their voice be heard. A Youth Forum was included in the summit and UNESCO-IHE was heavily involved in this forum. Our institute was present with a representation of six MSc students. Many discussions and an intergenerational dialogue resulted in a youth statement, which was used as input for the Budapest Water Summit Statement and was presented during the closing ceremony. 

Visit the site of the Water Youth Network to read blogs of the MSc students who attended the Youth Forum.

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