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UNGA President Releases Concept Note on Water, Sanitation, Energy

United Nations14 January 2014: The Office of the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has released concept notes for three high-level events and three thematic debates that UNGA President John Ashe will host to encourage consensus building and concrete action on implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. The ‘Water, sanitation and sustainable energy' concept note describes universal access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and modern energy services as “one of the greatest multifaceted development challenges” facing the world.

This thematic debate aims to identify the main water, sanitation and sustainable energy challenges that hinder achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and discuss how to tackle these challenges in an integrated manner in the post-2015 agenda. It also aims to consider means of implementation, including finance infrastructure, human capacity and institutional reforms. Finally, the debate will consider how to utilize conservation measures, ecosystem approaches, science and technology and sustainable use concepts to increase actions at all level on these issues.

To address the water and sanitation challenge, the note recommends seven improvements related to: freshwater management in river basins; freshwater resource use and management in agriculture, industry and households; wastewater management and pollution; investments in improving water productivity; water and energy interdependencies; disaster risk reduction (DRR); integrated water resources management (IWRM), including engaging vulnerable populations; and water scarcity and policy reform.

To meet growing demand for sustainable energy, the note recommends five actions that promote, inter alia: sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns and wise consumer choices; energy efficiency and removal of barriers to address affordability, security and sustainability; a diverse mix of fuels and technologies; growth of renewables in national energy mixes; and technology transfer.

The concept note includes a background section, sections on the thematic challenges, debate objectives, and information on the format, expected outcome and participants in the debate. The President will issue a summary at the conclusion of the debate that will be shared with the UNGA's Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICSDF).

President Ashe set out 'The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage!' as the theme for the 68th Session of the UNGA. [UNGA President's Website on Post-2015 Agenda and Related Events] [Publication: Thematic Debate of the General Assembly: Water, Sanitation and Sustainable Energy in the post-2015 development agenda]