UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR ACTION
ON WATER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Antonio Guiterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, has declared that “Our world as we know it and the future we want are at risk”. Guiterres has called upon everyone to “dramatically step up the pace of implementation as we enter a decisive decade for people and the planet. We must connect the dots across all that we do – as individuals, civic groups, corporations, municipalities and Member States of the United Nations – and truly embrace the principles of inclusion and sustainability.”
In order to accelerate progress on these goals, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution declaring an International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028). The decade focuses on:
Sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for society, economy, and environment;
Co-operation and partnership to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets;
Efficient water usage; and,
Full involvement of stakeholders, including women, children, youth, older people, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities.
This is further supported by the Decade of Action on Sustainable Development (2020-2030) intended to:
Mobilise Everyone Everywhere;
Demand Urgency and Ambition; and,
Supercharge Ideas to Solutions.
CANADA WATER DECADE
Welcome to a website dedicated to resources and information that can help us, as people living in Canada, to ensure that water continues to be a positive defining feature of our country and that no-one is left behind as Canada strives to achieve the 2030 Water Goal (SDG6).
WHAT ARE THE SDGS?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious agenda driven by the urgent need to ensure a balance between economic growth, social development, and environmental integrity, with a fundamental emphasis on equity. The SDGs are universal in scope – they do not focus on any particular region or nation state. As such, Canada has an obligation to ensure that the specific targets are met within our boundaries as well as to support lower-income countries.
This website has been established as a portal for sharing resources with each other - across geographies, sectors, and stakeholders - with the aim of advancing progress towards Canada’s achievement of the Water Goal and related goals such as the Health Goal (SDG3), the Gender Equity Goal (SDG5), the Sustainable Communities Goal (SDG11), and the Climate Action Goal (SDG13).
Learn more about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, the Water Action Decade, Canada's water crisis, and more.
SDG 1 - NO POVERTY
Target 1.5 - By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
SDG 2 - ZERO HUNGER
Target 2.4 - By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality
SDG 3 - GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Target 3.3 - By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
Target 3.9 - By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
SDG 6 - CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
Target 6.1 - By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
Target 6.2 - By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
Target 6.3 - By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
Target 6.4 - By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
Target 6.5 - By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
Target 6.6 - By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
Target 6.a - By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
Target 6.b - Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
SDG 9 - INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Target 9.1 - Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
SDG 11 - SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
Target 11.5 - By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
Target 11.b - By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
SDG 12 - RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Target 12.2 - By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
Target 12.4 - By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
SDG 13 - CLIMATE ACTION
Target 13.1 - Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
Target 13.3 - Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
SDG 14 - LIFE BELOW WATER
Target 14.1 - By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Target 14.2 - By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
SDG 15 - LIFE ON LAND
Target 15.1 - By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
Target 15.3 - By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
Target 15.4 - By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
Target 15.9 - By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
WATER IN CANADA
Despite perceptions of being a water rich country, we face challenges that threaten our water security and our ability to achieve the water goal. Our economy relies on water; water flows away from where the majority of people live; the water quality in some of our lakes, rivers, and streams is degrading over time and some of our river basins are already water stressed, with water demands outstripping supplies in some years in for example the South Saskatchewan.
Climate change is exacerbating some of these problems, ripening conditions for droughts, floods, and wildfires, threatening water dominated economic sectors in some regions, such as agriculture.
Many of us are working hard to harness research, policy, and practice to ensure that we move towards a more sustainable path. Let’s share our knowledge and wisdom with each other to accelerate progress.
Others are struggling to claim their rights to adequate drinking water and sanitation. The SDG targets are for universal access – access for everyone everywhere. The good news is that approximately 99% of people living in Canada have access to potable water whenever they want it from the comfort of their own homes. However, when we consider that 1% of our population represents almost 376,000 people, there is clearly more work to be done, especially when many of the underserved are First Nation communities. Other vulnerable populations include the homeless and those living in impoverished inner cities.
“The national challenge of ensuring safe drinking water for First Nations reserves has persisted for many, many years, due to deep institutional issues rather than a lack of technology”
Biggs and McArthur, 2018 A Canadian North Star Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada, 2018