The Pacific Institute at the Historic UN 2023 Water Conference

The UN 2023 Water Conference—the first since 1977—presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance water on the global sustainable development agenda. The Conference took place at UN Headquarters in New York, 22-24 March 2023. Formally known as the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028), the conference was co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.

Recognized for its thought leadership and convening power, the Pacific Institute presented a range of events to advance water resilience for both the public and private sectors. These included:


Harnessing the Power of Water Efficiency and Reuse

Co-Convenors: Pacific Institute and United States Environmental Protection Agency 

Water-use efficiency and water reuse are powerful, albeit still underutilized, strategies for enhancing water sustainability and resilience. Together, they can substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity (SDG 6.4); enhance water quality (SDG 6.3); protect and restore water-related ecosystems (SDG 6.6); and reduce energy use (SDG 7.3) and associated greenhouse gas emissions (SDG 13), among other benefits. 

This session explored water efficiency and reuse opportunities and national and global strategies for promoting greater uptake. The panel was moderated by Shannon Spurlock, Senior Researcher at the Pacific Institute and President of WateReuse Colorado. Panelists spanned diverse geographies and disciplines and included:  

  • Heather Cooley, Director of Research at Pacific Institute; 
  • Sharon Nappier, the National Program Leader for Water Reuse in the Office of Water at the United States Environmental Protection Agency; and
  • Akissa Bahri, a professor, researcher, and former Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries and Secretary of State in charge of Water Resources for the government of Tunisia.  
  • Moderator: Shannon Spurlock, Senior Researcher, Public Policy and Practice Uptake at Pacific Institute

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Reception: Women in WASH Cocktail

Co-conveners: CEO Water Mandate, WaterAid, WASH4Wor


Announcement of the Business Leaders’ Call to Accelerate Water Action

Co-conveners: AquaFed, Ceres, CEO Water Mandate, International Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for Water Stewardship


Radical Collaboration for Water Resilience: Action with our Greatest Allies in the Climate Crisis

Co-conveners:  CEO Water Mandate, Worldwide Fund for Nature, Wetlands Coalition, World Farmers Organization

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CEO Water Mandate Offsite Day: Raising Our Ambitions for Water Resilience in 100 Basins by 2030

Co-conveners:  CEO Water Mandate, Worldwide Fund for Nature, Wetlands Coalition, World Farmers Organization


Water, War, and Peace

Co-conveners: Pacific Institute, Circle of Blue, World Resources Institute, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

Water and energy systems are regularly targeted in the Russia-Ukraine war, Iraq, Africa, and elsewhere. Access to water has often been a catalyst for tensions and violence, and water itself has long been a target and tool of war. How are the links between water and security changing? In an increasingly water-stressed world, what essential strategies can reduce the risk of water-related violence and what are the paths to peace?

This session joined experts from the frontlines of global water security to learn about conflicts today — and the long history of “water wars” and water peacemaking — and how to anticipate and reduce future conflicts over water.

This session drew from Pacific Institute’s longstanding work on water conflict, including the Institute’s Water Conflict Chronology, the most comprehensive, open-source database on water conflicts around the world. Speakers include: 

  • Peter H. Gleick, Pacific Institute
  • Liz Saccoccia, World Resources Institute
  • Irina Patrahau, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies
  • Moderator: Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue

Watch the replay.
View the slide deck.


#WaterAction #PacificInstituteUNWC2023





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