Toespraak minister Van Nieuwenhuizen bij UN-Water High-Level Political Forum Special Event

July 09, 2020

"The world is on the verge of spending trillions of dollars to boost economies recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the choice between investing this money in the long-term resilience of our societies, or wasting it on short-term quick wins."

Ladies and gentlemen,

This meeting is taking place at a defining moment. Not only is the world on the verge of spending trillions of dollars to boost economies recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve also only got 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. So we have the choice between investing this money in the long-term resilience of our societies, or wasting it on short-term quick wins.

When it comes to water, it’s about delivering on a promise! The UN-reform analysis in 2017 showed a gap in the UN coverage of water. So I’m pleased to welcome the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework. I greatly appreciate the commitment shown by the UN Leadership, also in attending today’s session!

At this important point in time, I have two key messages.

First: we must improve the resilience of our systems. Second: the Water Action Track of the Global Commission on Adaptation can help us achieve that goal.

And when it comes to water, the Netherlands is no stranger to the issues involved.

Water shaped our history – and it still shapes our society today.

That explains our long-standing involvement in water-issues at UN level, for instance in the High-Level Panel on Water.

UN-Water’s theme this year is Water and Climate Change. In line with this, the Global Commission on Adaptation, led by Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, also has a Water Action Track. It involves collaboration with key stakeholders to make recovery projects sustainable, inclusive and more adaptive to climate change. We hope many will join this initiative!

Its results will contribute to the UN Decade of Action and the SDG 6 Acceleration Framework, launched today. Working towards the 2023 UN conference on water, this is one of our main endeavours.

As a stepping stone and to help trigger the systemic change needed, the Netherlands will host the first-ever global summit of world leaders focused entirely on adaptation to climate change. It will take place on 25 January 2021.

With this online conference, we can join forces across the globe to offer hope, energy and real solutions.

And that is also my message today to the World Youth Parliament for Water: this is all about future generations! Let’s ensure that we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis more adaptive and more resilient!

Thank you.

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