Achieving the SDGs requires public-private collaboration on water. Here’s why

Denise Young
Johannes Mengel

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Water is in crisis – as it is both a driver and victim of climate change. This year was supposed to be the year that water finally took its place in the spotlight: the first UN water conference in almost 50 years, held in March in New York, marked the midpoint of a water action decade that was supposed to spur action on water. Yet just six months later, water is regrettably absent from the SDG Summit, the key meeting that is meant to raise ambition on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next seven years.

This is even more surprising considering that if we fail on water, we will fail on all of the SDGs. Goal 5 on achieving gender equality? Girls and women spend 200 million hours a day globally collecting water. Goal 1 on poverty? Some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water. Goal 4 on quality education? Around 31% of schools worldwide lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

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