Fifth UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters

On June 25th, the Fifth UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters, which is entitled “Building back better towards a more resilient and sustainable Post-COVID-19 World” was successfully co-organized by the governments of Japan, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Tajikistan and the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). Given that the COVID-19 Pandemic has gravely affected the countries all over the world socially and economically and disrupted efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is imperative that we raise awareness and promote actions for building back better towards more resilient and sustainable society in the post-COVID-19 era. (see the final concept paper)

The Session consisted of the following three parts: 1) Science and Technology Panel, 2) Plenary Session and 3) High-level Panel Discussion/Closing. Approximately 500 people from 72 countries and 33 international organizations were in attendance.

In the Science and Technology Panel, panelists discussed the roles of science and technology to society, the importance of open data policy and systemic risk management in particular.

Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly made opening remarks for Plenary Session which was chaired by Dr. Han Seung-soo, HELP Chair. Following the opening remarks, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, H.E. Mr. János Áder, President, Hungary, H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President, The Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, H.E. Ms. Sheikh Hasina, Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, HRH Princess Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden delivered keynote speeches.

In the High-level Panel Session, H.E. Ms. Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands moderated an active panel discussion focusing on issues of water and risk reduction of disaster in which panelists from different countries and organizations proposed a variety of topics to be discussed at the coming 2023 UN Conference on the Water Action Decade. They also reached a consensus that the 2023 UN Conference is an opportunity for the international community to mobilize around transforming the management of water and achieving the water-related SDGs.

Before Mr. Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Dr. Han, HELP Chair wrapped up The Special Thematic Session, Mr. Thomas Stratenwert from Federal Ministry for Environment in Germany sent a message in which he introduced water dialogue process in detail.

Summary of Proceedings (to be uploaded soon)

Program of the session with link to the speeches/presentations (as of July 8th)

Videos available on UNTV
Plenary Session
Science and Technology Panel
High-level Panel
Closing Session

UN News

News on the UN-Water Website