Urban Journalism Institute


©  Evangeline Shaw

Water is indispensable for human survival, health, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability. Despite being recognised as a fundamental human right by the United Nations, the challenge of accessing clean water and sanitation persists, particularly at local and regional levels. Issues such as water scarcity, pollution, and the impacts of climate change disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, with women bearing a significant burden.

Local and regional governments play a pivotal role in addressing these challenges, as they are tasked with providing water and sanitation services. Resolving water-related problems requires collaborative efforts involving these governments to advance sustainable development and alleviate disparities. These principles of action are reaffirmed in the UCLG Pact for the Future, adopted in October 2022.

2023 marked a turning point in the collective efforts to tackle critical water challenges. In March, the United Nations Water Conference sparked historic mobilisation among stakeholders worldwide, rallying local and regional governments to respond to urgent water-related challenges. This significant event laid the groundwork for robust political commitments to address the entire spectrum of water-related issues in 2024, where various political milestones will be linked.

This crucial year presents an opportunity to urge national governments and the international system to create an environment that enables local and regional governments to implement, operate, and regulate water services efficiently. These services include safe water production and supply, wastewater management, solid waste management, and their involvement in decisions related to improving water management.

10th World Water Forum

As we look ahead to the 10th World Water Forum, set to be the largest multi-stakeholder gathering globally, the stage is set for an unprecedented consideration of the pivotal role that local authorities play in shaping the future of water management and governance.  The 10th World Water Forum will bring together policymakers, multilateral institutions, academics, civil society representatives and private and public operators, among others, to share experiences, identify priorities and propose concrete solutions in water and sanitation.

It will also provide an opportunity to advocate for local water priorities, network and build partnerships, and influence policies associated with the local water context. These outcomes will help make the capacity to understand local issues and the condition of water and promote water governance at the local level. 

The 2024 OCEAN Decade Conference 

Hosted by the Government of Spain in Barcelona from 10-12 April 2024, it will mark a pivotal moment in addressing the global challenges outlined in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). As the fourth year of implementation, the conference aims to assess achievements, identify critical areas for action, and set joint priorities for the next three to five years. With a focus on delivering essential scientific insights to shape a sustainable ocean future, the event will convene the global Ocean Decade community to address critical issues such as climate change, food security, biodiversity management, the ocean economy, pollution, and natural hazards. The conference seeks to lay the groundwork for effective ocean management and inclusive solutions by fostering collaboration and innovation, ensuring a shared commitment to sustainable ocean stewardship leading to 2030. 

 One Water Summit

Announced at COP28 by Presidents Macron and Tokayev, the One Water Summit scheduled for September 2024 in New York underscores the urgency of addressing the global water crisis amidst worsening climate change effects. With a focus on enhancing water governance and innovative solutions, this summit aims to tackle the escalating challenges facing water resources worldwide. The participation of various stakeholders, including ministers, representatives of the United Nations, local authorities, financial stakeholders, and NGOs, reflects a concerted effort to address water scarcity and environmental degradation globally. Additionally, the Freshwater Challenge coalition, comprising governments from various countries, highlights the collective commitment to restoring degraded ecosystems and ensuring sustainable water management practices, thus marking a significant step towards safeguarding water resources for future generations.

© Ocean Image Bank, Vincent  Kneefel
Cofounded by the European Union This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UCLG and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.