The UN Water Conference, held in New York from 22 to 24 March, resulted in action agenda aimed at advancing progress on SDG 6 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — clean and accessible water for all. Switzerland took the lead in this international event, highlighting the significance of efficient transboundary water management for achieving sustainable water goals and peace.
Switzerland made five voluntary commitments, including its Blue Peace initiative, which blends water diplomacy with development cooperation, as well as sustained support for the United Nations Sanitation and Hygiene Fund and UNESCO’s transboundary water management operations. The Swiss delegation comprised officials from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Swiss Water Partnership, who contributed knowledge and experience, notably in the field of transboundary water management.
Switzerland, which shares six rivers and four lakes with neighboring countries, co-chaired a debate on using water as a tool for peace and cooperation. SDC Deputy Director General Christian Frutiger emphasized the need of addressing water concerns and securing future development through reaching agreements with neighbors, establishing common institutions, and bringing all stakeholders to the table.
The conference, which was launched and hosted by Switzerland and Mozambique, also addressed the security of critical water infrastructure and services for civilians during armed conflict. Mr. Frutiger stated clearly that international humanitarian law and Security Council resolutions on water access must be followed everywhere and without exception.
Since more than 50 years ago, Switzerland has been actively engaged in water-related issues, and it continues to play a crucial part in advancing sustainable water management on a global scale. The conference outcomes serve as a road map for action to achieve SDG 6 and ensure a sustainable future for all.