The Budapest Water Summit: The Role of Water and Sanitation in the Global Sustainable Development Agenda took place in Budapest, Hungary, from 8–11 October. On 9 October, SEI Executive Director Johan L. Kuylenstierna moderated a high-level panel discussion on how to address critical issues of access to water and sanitation, urban water infrastructure planning, and wastewater management. In a later session, he acted as rapporteur in a session on the coming challenges for integrated water resource management.
The summit aimed to pull together insights from several recent high-level events on water into a summit statement emphasizing the need for an SDG on a “water-secure world”, along with policy recommendations to support and reinforce such a goal.
“It is essential that the SDGs include a dedicated water goal, covering access to drinking water and proper sanitation,” said Kuylenstierna. “But water also has a fundamental role in all of the SDGs. There can be no food security, no energy security and, thus, no development without effective and sustainable management of water resources.”
The Budapest Water Summit is the last major event planned in the International Year of Water Cooperation. The summit was organized by the Hungarian government in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Water Council.
“Achieving water security for all is a low-hanging fruit,” said Kuylenstierna. “We have the knowledge, we have the technologies, we have the resources; now it is only about political will.”
Another SEI expert, Senior Research Fellow Holger Hoff, was rapporteur for a high-level evening panel event on the water-energy-food nexus.
“The nexus has been discussed and conceptualized at length. It is now time to put the nexus concept to work, so we can help to inspire smart, integrated water, energy and food policies in hotspots where the tensions between water, energy, food and environmental issues are having real impacts on people’s lives,” said Hoff. “This high-level panel will provide a good opportunity to spread the word.”