The global agenda
In 2015, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed water issues specifically for the very first time.
Unlike the previous development goals (MDGs), that were broad and regrouping issues under 8 goals, the SDGs have 17 specific goals and 169 targets that are relevant to every country.
Water is addressed through eight targets under Goal 6, which focuses on Clean Water and Sanitation, and under one target of Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).
Despite all the great progress that has been made in the past decades there is still room for improvement. According to the UN:
- 663 million people who live without improved drinking water sources
- 1.8 billion people who use sources of drinking water that are contaminated by fecal matters;
- 2.4 billion people who do not have access to basic sanitation facilities
- Water scarcity is still affecting over 40% of the global population and is expected to increase with climate change and excessive use of water in several river basins, exceeding recharge rates;
- 70% of the fresh water used on the planet is for irrigation and agriculture;
- 80% of our wastewater is simply discharged in the sea and rivers without any prior treatment;
All these alarming numbers are the reason why the targets of the water goal go beyond basic WASH initiatives. The scope of water sector development has been broadened to encompass the whole water cycle, including water resources management and climate change adaptation.
The Agenda 2030 & the Butterfly Effect
This goal is significant and requires a wide net of people and organizations working together, especially from the NGO/CSO side, to achieve it. The SDG's are the most important and ambition global aims to eradicate poverty and to give dignity to the poorest. The Butterfly Effect is advocating for a proper, transparent and inclusive SDG's implementation.
With a large network of actors, the BE will report (citizen data) on the implementation of the Water Goal and other water-related targets. The more the network grows, the more accurate the reporting process will be. In addition, the creation of regional groups within the BE could increase the monitoring capacity and various axis of cooperation for the implementation of the SDGs (South-South, North-South, etc.) provided that it coincides with regional approaches that come out of the intergovernmental architecture and HLPF initiatives.
What have we achieved so far?
The Butterfly Effect contributed in particular to ensuring the existence of a goal for water in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and promoted the involvement of civil society organizations in UN processes. The members of the network were regularly informed of 2030 Agenda issues and key sector events to facilitate effective advocacy actions. They were also informed of the publication of Open Working Group reports on the SDGs, so they could have an influence on the content. Butterfly Effect members were able to make their voices heard at strategic meetings of UN-Water, by UN ambassadors, at meetings organised by countries like Switzerland at the UN Headquarters in New York, as well as during meetings with UNSGAB members, high-level experts responsible for advising the Secretary General of the United Nations on water issues.
In 2015, the Butterfly Effect network also coordinated civil society to contribute in the context of an OECD water governance initiative, which contributed to promoting water sector integrity and transparency as well as to garnering stakeholder commitment to good resource management.