UN Leadership and Experts Say Water, Sanitation and Energy Are Key Ingredients for Sustainable Development

New York, February 18, 2014

The importance of safe drinking water, clean sanitation, and renewable energy were spotlighted at the United Nations during a Thematic Debate convened by the 68th General Assembly President John Ashe.

The Thematic Debate on Water, Sanitation, and Energy was attended by senior government ministers, member states, civil society organizations, private sector groups, and experts on various subjects. It is the first event of six important events scheduled by Ambassador Ashe during his term as General Assembly President, drawing attention to some important topics and concepts that will feature in the post-2015 Development Agenda.

Opening the two-day event, Ashe stressed the importance of the three subjects for development. “The water, sanitation and sustainable energy crisis are the pre-eminent development challenges of our world. We can no longer remain either resigned or silent whilst a lack of access to water, sanitation, and sustainable energy services takes a tragic and daily toll on the lives of millions of poor people, especially women and girls,” Ashe told the Assembly.

Water, sanitation and energy have been highly regarded as key components of sustainable development, while also being some of the least successful areas of the Millennium Development Goals. Civil society groups and private sector leaders have urged member states and the UN in the past to double-down on meeting water and sanitation targets.

The South-South Steering Committee for Sustainable Development (SS-SCSD) has been a pioneering voice for better access to safe drinking water and other priorities related to water and sanitation. During the thematic debate at the UN, leaders and experts noted the essential role that different stakeholders have played in bringing attention to this issue, while also providing innovative and accessible solutions to water-related problems.

Ashe, welcoming the participants, asked for a robust dialogue on water, sanitation, and energy to ensure they become key features of the post-2015 Development Agenda. “Today, I ask you to dig deep, to express your creativity, to share your experiences and to provide your guidance and inputs in collaborating to achieve these goals, and in creating a post-2015 world that allows every member of the global family to live in dignity,” Ashe said.