Group of 27 calls for the Water Action Agenda to prioritise water quality
Twenty-seven government and non-government partners recently put forward five concrete sanitation-related recommendations for integration into the global Water Action Agenda. These recommendations stem from the session titled, ‘Pollution, Sanitation, Water Quality and Climate Resilience: A Call to Action,’ which was held on 24 March 2023 at the Trusteeship Council Room of the United Nations Headquarters. During the session, government representatives from Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Nepal, Indonesia, South Sudan, and Senegal demonstrated the critical need to address water security in a holistic manner.
According to our speakers, pollution is a threat to realising the human rights to water, sanitation, and a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. More than 44% of domestic wastewater released into our rivers and lakes is not treated, polluting our water resources and causing direct harm to aquatic biodiversity and the ecosystem. Further, sanitation systems are responsible for 2-6% of global methane emissions, and 1-3% of nitrous oxide emissions, impacting public health and the well-being of close to half of the world's population. View carousel to see more examples of climate change and sanitation links.
Despite the urgency to prioritise these challenges, sanitation is mentioned in less than 2% of the globe’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Action Plans (NAPs). 
Calling for the pressing need to increase attention and investments in sanitation, the group of 27 partners put forward five recommendations for concrete action and integration into the global Water Action Agenda.
There is need for a holistic, integrated approach to environmental pollution from sanitation and waste, sludge, and wastewater management, as well as the need for climate-resilient and low-carbon sanitation and waste management.
In the development of NAP and NDCs, the linkages with sanitation and waste should be better unpacked and addressed.
In the development of national water and climate plans, sanitation and waste should be central.
Financing instruments for climate and water should have an earmarked percentage for addressing pollution from sanitation and waste systems.
Knowledge development should be a continued priority including the quantification of GHG emissions along the sanitation and waste chains in order to contribute to climate mitigation and effectiveness of adaptive measures to ensure climate resilience of services
The group is committed to building a coalition for the political prioritisation of pollution, sanitation, water quality, and climate resilience, and sustaining the momentum of #Sanitation4ClimateAction calls at all levels.
What are NDCs and NAPs?
'Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) communicate a country’s contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process helps to identify NDC adaptation goals and translates them into action. Both are complementary processes and should ideally be aligned to strengthen national climate change adaptation.’