“Water for People and Planet: Stop the waste, change the game, invest in the future” will be the theme of the 2023 Annual Parliamentary Hearing, a joint initiative between the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). More than 250 members of parliament, Speakers, advisers and related officials from more than 60 countries are expected at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA, on 13 and 14 February.
The Hearing takes place only a few weeks after a resolution adopted by the UNGA which highlights the critical role that parliaments play in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the universally agreed upon blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all. UNGA resolution 77/159 recognizes the essential role of national parliaments to bring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to life through their powers to legislate, budget and scrutinize government action.
The theme for this year’s Hearing will raise support for SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation, and the UN 2023 Water Conference – formally known as the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028) – which will take place at the UN (22-24 March), and is co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
The President of the 77th session of the General Assembly, Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, said, “The theme of this year’s Hearing is critical. We live in a time of multiple and interconnected crises. But the greatest one we face is the water crisis. Nearly all climate change is felt through water – we have either too much, not enough or it’s not potable. The policy that we implement now will impact not just us, but dictate how our children and our grandchildren will live. We have the gamechangers ready, but we need support to make them a reality – a lifechanging reality for all of humanity.”
IPU President, Duarte Pacheco, said: “Although our planet is called the blue planet, billions of people do not have access to clean water and sanitation. The good news is that water and sanitation problems can be solved through coordinated national and international actions. And that’s where parliamentarians can make a difference. Change is possible when governments lead with smart policies and when parliaments demand accountability and help enact those commitments with laws and budgets.”
The IPU mainstreams global commitments into the day-to-day work of national parliaments and supports parliaments in their vital role of holding governments to account in implementing multilateral agreements.
According to UN Water, one in four people lack safe drinking water; and almost 50% of the global population lack safe sanitation. Water is related to most natural disasters with 1.2 billion people at risk from floods across the world. In the past 20 years, floods and droughts have caused over 166,000 deaths, disrupted the lives of billions of people, and caused at least US$ 700 billion in damage.
The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments. It was founded more than 133 years ago as the first multilateral political organization in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 178 national Member Parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more representative. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world.