Here's World Water Day – Here's Leaving no one behind
De l’eau pour tous
Água para todos
Вода для всех
Agua para todos
Water for all
Today is World Water Day and this year’s global theme is: Leaving on one behind. Leading up to today's event, the Dutch water sector met Yesterday in Amsterdam to explore the next steps that are needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water by 2030.
In a debate joined by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag, an expert panel focused on this year’s global theme Leaving no one behind.
Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigrid Kaag addressing the issue of leaving no one behind.
Water is about livelihoods
"Step out of your water silo. On this theme the human right agenda is overarching", Minister Kaag provoked the water professionals that were present. She emphasized that all SDGs speaks to a specific human right, water for all being only one of them. "Water is often left to the techies but it fits in with quality of life and livelihood."
Kaag gave the examples of separate latrines for girls. "It is often seen as a construction project, while the connections with the village, the drinking water, the health impact are never really thought through."
She highlighted the social aspects of the theme and challenged the water sector to act in an integrated matter. "Bring in your unique expertise that no one else has, to the overall landscape. You are coming from a technical field, so you bring something specific to make this happen".
"Water is critical", she continued. "Also in conflict prevention. In many areas with climate change it is the essential lifesaving, a live altering resource. If there is not sufficient water for all, in equitable and fair manner, future conflicts will be fought purely over water", she warned.Researcher Anika Altaf told about a disabled Ethiopian women she interviewed for her study and the attention alone brought this woman out of her exclusion by her own community.
"Are we reaching the extreme poor and margalised people?, asked researcher Anika Altaf of the University of Amsterdam. ‘They are not reached by development interventions. That is the conclusion of my research on a number of case studies.’
In January, Altaf promoted her study The many hidden faces of extreme poverty. Inclusion and exclusion of extreme poor people in development interventions in Bangladesh, Benin and Ethiopia.
"These people seem to be invisible", she told. "Even within their own communities. They tend to self-exclude, making it even harder to development agencies to reach them".
Altaf advised the water sector to set out on a long term effort, based on local knowledge. "Everybody is focused on numbers, in money or material terms. But that is not what extreme poverty means to people. What matters most to them is a sense of humanity. Being loved and treated with dignity, matters most to these people."
Get the full picture first
Minister Kaag underpinned this finding and advised the water sector to: "dig in deep for equity. Always be focused on the human right agenda. Assess your water measure as part of the full picture and if things are wrong, address it".
Kaag advocated a practical mix of this long term intervention with every day’s reality. "People that need water, have no time for our long term agenda, so we have to be mindful on what we try to achieve on the short term as well."
Read also on this website
● IRC 50 years: A serious attempt to achieve universal access by 2030, 14 March 2019
● Universal access to water: ‘How do we make sure no one is left behind?’, 4 May 2018
● World Water Forum 8: Launch of Dutch Blue Deal programme in support of SDG6 on water, 23 March 2018
● Dutch civil society organisations support call on UN to include human right to water in post-2015 agenda, 28 May 2015
● Expertise: Water for all
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