IWHR successfully organized a side event of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, the highest-level and most prominent global gathering to address water challenges since 1977, on March 23, 2023 at UNHQ.
The side event, under the theme of “Achieving a Balance between Protection and Development – Water for Rural Prosperity,” probed into the role water plays in the sustainable development of rural areas, which often suffer from lagging-behind socioeconomic development due to particular industrial structure, specific geographical locations, the need for river source protection, and other reasons.
The IWHR-organized side event of the UN 2023 Water Conference
“Water is an essential prerequisite for rural revitalization, ” said Li Guoying, China’s Minister of Water Resources, in his opening remark for the event. He referred to the strategy to revitalize rural areas through strengthening rural water conservancy construction of China, which sees a shortage of arable land and water as well as a huge rural population however made stunning progress in achieving water-related SDGs.
Such achievements include a 87% coverage of tap water in rural areas, a total of 8.27 million rural water supply projects built to serve 870 million people in rural areas, and 7,326 large and medium-sized projects built to produce 75% of China’s grain and over 90% of its cash crops, shared by Li Guoying, underlining the groundwork set by water in eliminating poverty and ensuring food security in rural areas.
More attention should be paid to the rural areas and rural people who play a more important role in sustainable water resouces development and eco-environment protection, proposed in the opening remarks of Qu Xing, Deputy Director General of UNESCO, and Lo?c Fauchon, President of World Water Council (WWC). Solidarity of the international community should also be enhanced and a stronger synergy be formed to tackle today’s global water challenges.
Distinguished guests for opening remarks of the events
The side event convened government representatives, international organization leaders, scholars, and youth delegates with diverse backgrounds to share their views on the link between water and rural development as keynote speakers and panelists. Topics reported/discussed at the event include:
Delivering Actionable Science and Community-based Implementable Solutions:
From Sponge Cities to Countryside Mops: The Role of Rural Areas in Enhancing Water Storage;
Coastal Agriculture & Environmental Protection in Southern Italy;
Protection and Development of Water Source Area: Practice in China;
The Role of the Basin Organizations on Securing the Different Water Uses and Establishing Solidarity;
Successful practices of Switzerland in balancing rural development and protection of eco-environment;
Practices to revitalize rural areas through water supply, irrigation and small-scale hydropower projects for developing countries;
To see development and protection from the youth’s perspective.
The side event submitted a five-point commitment in the name of GWP-China to the Water Action Agenda, the most important output of the UN 2023 Water Conference to accelerate the achievement of the water-related SDGs and specific targets.