Statement by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Information Meeting on the UN World Water Development Report 2017: “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource” —
Director Roudil, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be with you today for the official presentation of the United Nations World Water Development Report 2017 to the UN Delegations in New York.
We have heard the rich presentations and stimulating discussions on this year’s edition of the report with great interest. I am particularly pleased by what this report illustrates as it is a strong example implementation of the SDG’s: it shows that a waste product can become a precious resource and that – in a situation of water scarcity – re-using water can unlock a wide array of development opportunities.
Italy places great importance on achieving the internationally-agreed SDG’s in the framework of the 2030 Agenda. I am very proud of the long-standing commitment of the Government of Italy to financially support the publication of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) series and the work of the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) of UNESCO, based in Perugia, Italy.
This year’s report puts forward essential tools and recommendations for policy-makers in advancing this ambitious and far-reaching agenda, and it demonstrates that meeting the Sustainable Development Goal for water and sanitation is both technically and financially feasible.
We all know that access to safe water and improved infrastructure is a necessary condition for economic growth, social development, and the dignity and empowerment of people everywhere. But access to safe water is also a condition for peace and stability, for we cannot fail to acknowledge that resource scarcity is in turn a driver of instability, migration and strife.
One person in six lives in a precarious, unhealthy, overpopulated environment, without access to essential daily needs, such as water, appropriate sanitation and electricity. Rain cycles are altered while both geography and climate are modified. The consequences of these alterations can be seen everywhere. Exacerbated by environmental degradation and security concerns, migratory phenomena are inevitable.
The issue of wastewater is right at the center of policies designed to meet these challenges. The “four Rs” approach (reduce, remove, reuse and recover), introduced by Prof. Uhlenbrook, the Coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), should help guide and illuminate our environmental strategies. The concept of a circular economy is based on the assumption that waste is not a burden but a resource, and this (re)cycling thinking clearly places the re-use of water at the heart of its vision. Good management and governance of water resources are powerful drivers of positive change, including gender equality, the creation of decent jobs, sustainable economic growth, climate change mitigation, food security and environmental protection.
In its last four reports, the WWAP – WORLD WATER ASSESSMENT PROGRAMME has addressed four overarching issues that are at the center of development and environmental policy: in 2014 it was “Water and Energy”, in 2015 it was “Water for a Sustainable World”, in 2016 it was “Water and Jobs” and this year it is “Wastewater, The Untapped Resource”. I am confident their work will continue to help world leaders and policy makers achieve the internationally-agreed sustainable development goals .
I hope you will be inspired by the findings of this Report and finally I want to take this opportunity to call upon interested Member States to join forces with the World Water Assessment Programme of UNESCO and contribute to advancing our common agenda and water priorities.