Press releases, 24.03.2023

The UN 2023 Water Conference, which was held in New York from 22 to 24 March, has resulted in an action agenda. This outcome is expected to help advance progress on SDG 6 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – clean and accessible water for all. The Swiss delegation to the conference emphasised the importance of concerted and effective transboundary water management in making this vital resource a tool for peace and cooperation.

The United Nations Water Conference has resulted in a water action agenda based on pledges by individual states. Switzerland has made five such voluntary commitments which include Blue Peace, a Swiss initiative combining water diplomacy and development cooperation, as well as continuing support for the UN Sanitation and Hygiene Fund and UNESCO's activities in transboundary water management. This global event also served to focus political attention on water issues.

The Swiss delegation to the conference, consisting of staff from the SDC and SECO as well as members of the Swiss Water Partnership, were able to bring their expertise and know-how to this global event – particularly in the field of transboundary water management, which is at the core of the Blue Peace initiative.

Switzerland, which shares six rivers and four lakes with neighbouring countries, co-chaired together with Senegal the fourth of a series of five interactive dialogues focusing on this key theme: making water a tool for peace and cooperation. "We can address the water challenges we face and secure our children's future prosperity by entering into agreements with our neighbours, setting up shared institutions and bringing all stakeholders to the table," stressed the SDC's assistant director general Christian Frutiger.

UN Security Council also addresses water

Water was also the focus of an informal Security Council debate initiated and chaired by Switzerland and Mozambique: namely, the protection of essential water infrastructure and services for civilians during armed conflict. During the debate, Mr Frutiger issued a clear statement that international humanitarian law and Security Council resolutions concerning access to water must be respected "everywhere and without exception". Protection of civilians is one of Switzerland's four priorities for its 2023–24 term on the council.

Switzerland has been actively involved in water-related issues, one of the SDC's global themes, for over 50 years.

Further information:

News overview
Interview Christian Frutiger, Deputy Director-General of the SDC

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