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Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN at the high-level event to launch the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development” (2018–2028), 22 March 2018


Water is vital for sustaining life on Earth, and yet it is facing many challenges, from increased urbanisation to effects of climate change. So it is up to us, the international community, to proactively find sustainable solutions to these problems. This is why today’s launch of the International Decade for Action, aptly titled “Water for Sustainable Development”, is so important.

Estonia warmly welcomes this initiative, which aims to further improve cooperation, partnership and capacity development in response to the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Guaranteeing sustainable water management is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and we hope that today’s launch will help to accelerate this process.

Water is an important priority for Estonia.

This is why Estonia is well on track to meet the targets of SDG 6 by 2030. In case of freshwater, Integrated Water Resource Management is a well-established approach and water planning at the basin level is essential. Good ecological and chemical status of all our waters is a common goal set in our Water Law and we have seen significant improvement in water quality over the last decade.

Additionally, Estonia is proud to be one of the 15 co-convening countries for the High-Level Panel on Water and Peace. The report prepared by the High-Level Panel, titled ‘A Matter of Survival’ proactively deals with the issue that has the potential to become one of the biggest sources of conflict in the 21st century.  Thus, it is crucial that when it comes to such an important matter as water, the international community will make, as the Secretary-General has repeatedly called, the important shift of moving from reacting to preventing. The water decade will allow us to just do that.

As the recommendations of the report point out: we need the legal foundations, institutional framework, financial backing and political support to achieve the task of successfully turning water from a potential source of conflict to a tool of peace. And these four goals are something we should all work towards together.

To conclude, we think that launching the International Decade for Action, „Water for Sustainable Development“ today, on the World Water Day, is a significant milestone encouraging further our collective efforts. We sincerely hope that today’s event will strengthen our collective determination to succeed in securing sustainable water management, and add to the much-needed political momentum to advancing water cooperation.

Thank You!


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