Sunday, 20 October 2013

Butterfly Effect sends a strong message during a side event in New York

The Butterfly Effect had great opportunities to advocate for our point of view on a dedicated Water SDG: Maggie White (ISW) and Lesha Witmer(BPWI) attended events surrounding the UN General Assembly in New York. Lesha addressed an event as follow up for the Dushanbe Conference, organised by Tajikistan, last August. Maggie speeched during the event on water risks and a water SDG, co-convened by the governments of Switzerland, Columbia, the Netherlands, UNSGAB, and the World Water Council.

Some countries were also very clear on their support for a dedicated Water Goal during the official session of the UNGA, e.g. Switzerland and The Netherlands

Maggie's speech:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for giving me the floor, my name is Maggie White, I am a member of the steering committee of a global network encompassing more than 190 CSOs and NGOs called the Butterfly Effect.

Our members work on water and sanitation related issues in different regions and from different perspectives but have joined forces to jointly stress the importance of the water agenda for sustainable development.

We highly welcome the input from Switzerland, Netherlands and Colombia and the other countries represented here that push for water and sanitation in their main priorities in the post 2015 agenda.

We expect the GA of the UN to decide on 1 process to reach 1 set of goals in 1 governance structure for the sustainable development of our world, converging the development and the sustainable development agenda.  In doing this chances of success will be increased by creating a sense of purpose and one forward looking vision. Ownership of the goals will be shared and this will reinforce a progressive global partnership through cooperation of all stakeholders.

This will not only increase effectiveness and create a believable license to operate, that people can understand, but on top of that, it will enhance focused and coherent facilitation and funding to achieve these goals.

With that in mind, we call for an explicit goal aiming for a water safe world – in quantity, quality, accessibility and affordability.

This goal should be based on normative principles of equitable and reasonable use, participation, pollution prevention and causing no significant harm and also on the Human right to safe water and sanitation in order to prevent inequality and discrimination. It should therefore be characterized by the availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of affordable water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems and production. And be coupled with a manageable level of water related risks to people, environments and economies.

We believe that we must aim for the shared benefit of a water safe world through SMARTER targets on :
-          universal, sustainable gender-responsive access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene be it at home, schools, work
-           integrated management of water resources and water stewardship, maintaining the ecosystem,
-          the application of the 3R principals

 However to this end, we need to:
-  establish water governance systems that apply the principles of transparency, accountability, access to information, participation and cooperation
-  always incorporate capacity development 
-  ensure prioritization of water resource management in national plans
-  ensure better financing of the WASH sector also in emergency contexts,

 Sustainable development is impossible without active involvement of all stakeholders, be it in the decision making, design and implementation. Civil society can therefore complement the role of governments in setting policies at national or international levels and be instrumental in implementing these policies on the ground. It is crucial to incorporate the active role of the major groups, in particular the pivotal role of women and youth, in achieving this goal.

In conclusion, it is clear that water and sanitation are key determinants in all aspects of social, economic and environmental development and must therefore be a central focus of any post-2015 framework. And while recognizing that water is cross cutting for all the other goals we want to achieve, we are calling upon the governments present here to work towards and push for an explicit goal on water it being widely recognized that sustainable water management is the basis for the achievement of all sustainable development.

Water is the key to a shared prosperity!

(And to keep reminding you, and further the discussions, we would like to share with you a short summary of our input and post cards that illustrate the pivotal role of water in a joined sustainable agenda.)

Theater of the absurd

Stockholm World Water Week this year provided the "stage" for the "Theater of the Absurd".

This play was created by UNESCO-IHP and UN-Water in the framework of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013. It is a theatrical representation of the world's surreal, and as yet, unsolved dilemmas surrounding water security, water governance and water cooperation.
This 4-act play on trusting each other, sharing commons, and ultimately deciding if we are capable of perpetuating our development without endangering the planet was video taped.

Maggie White and Lesha Witmer played the Butterflies, appearing in act 3. They conveyed the messages of the Butterfly Effect in a different setting.

“The Theatre of the Absurd” is now online at the Water Channel: video
There is also a short trailer (just like in the movies!) for a behind-the-scenes look - now available at the UNESCO YouTube Channel