JAMAICA has joined 68 other members of the Group of Friends of Children and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in urging United Nations member states to use the occasion of the UN 2023 Water Conference to act now to achieve SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and ensure a better future for every child.
Addressing the conference which was being held under the theme 'Water For Sustainable Development 2018-2028', in New York on Thursday, Jamaica's minister with responsibility for water, Matthew Samuda underscored that human health and dignity are the foundations for every society and require access to clean drinking water and sanitation.
"Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is not a privilege but a basic human right enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child [which], as governments, it is our duty to uphold," said Samuda who is also the co-chair of the Group of Friends of Children and the SDGs.
Samuda told the conference that the vision of the Jamaican Government for the management of the island's water resources is guided by 'Vision 2030 Jamaica', and the National Development Plan.
"We are further guided by the National Water Sector Policy and Implementation Plan, of 2019. The policy outlines in detail the measures that are being implemented by the Government to manage and protect the island's water resources to ensure universal access to potable water and adequate sanitation by 2030," said Samuda.
"Additionally, the goal of the policy is to ensure that Jamaica's water resources are effectively managed to provide for our nation's social, economic, and environmental well-being, now and in the future," Samuda added.
He noted that the present water crisis facing many countries is exacerbated by the climate crisis now facing the world.
"Jamaica is calling on all developed countries to honour their commitments made under the Paris Agreement, and subsequently.
"Even if honoured, there is an urgent need for significant increases in funding for adaption. It is Jamaica's belief that much of this should be directed toward water resilience. We have repeatedly called for the process of accessing finance to be simplified and harmonised across funding agencies," said Samuda.
He added: "The climate crisis which is driving the water crisis will not abate because we want it to. It will abate because we make the tough political decisions and appropriate investments in adaptation and water resilience".
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