UNEA2: Wastewater is a Global Concern, But Also a Huge Potential Resource - Women in Europe for a Common Future






UNEA2: Wastewater is a Global Concern, But Also a Huge Potential Resource

Day 1 of the UNEA-2 conference started off with WECF's successful side event called “Towards a Circular Economy through Sustainable Management of Wastewater and Re-use”, which had over 90 delegates participating. Rostom (RCDA) presented our UNEP-project from Georgia.

The event was opened up by Sweden's Environment Ambassador Jan Olsson, and moderated by Sascha Gabizon (Executive Director of WECF, Women's Major Group). The keynote speech was held by Aslihan Kerc (SUEN) and Birguy Lamizana (UNEP). Jakob Granit (SEI) presented “Best Practices from Sweden on Sustainable Wastewater Management: Case Sweden”; Rostom Gamisonia (RCDA) presented “Introducing Sustainable Wastewater and Nutrient Management: Case Georgia”; John Baaki (WEP) – “Civil Society’s Role to Implement SDG 6: Nigeria’s Case”

In the picture: The panel listening to Jakob Granit’s presentation. From the left: Sascha, Jakob, Aslihan, John, Rostom, Birguy.


In the picture: Rostom and Jakob discussing SDGs and their projects.


In the picture: Side event coordinator Dr. Claudia Wendland (WECF, water and sanitation expert) and Cristopher Cox (UNEP) discussing linkages between nutrients and wastewater management.


Sascha finished off the event by outlining the following recommendations:


The co-conveners of the green room event acknowledge that:

  • Water is essential for life in many different ways, including for the ecosystems on which all life depends as well as a range of human activities.
  • Safe drinking water and sanitation are essential to the progressive realization of human rights and well-being, including gender equality.
  • The co-conveners recommend governments to:
  • Develop the capacity of national institutions to put in place the necessary skills to plan and implement actions for SDG achievement, including SDG6.3 on wastewater reuse 
  • Facilitate the strengthening of national and transboundary cooperation to enable a multi-sector approach to SDG planning and monitoring
  • Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goal –SDG 6) as part of the water-energy-food-nexus.

In particular:

  • Establish and/or strengthen a national monitoring system for SDG 6 (and interlinked SDGs).
  • Recognize wastewater as a valuable resource in terms of macro and micro nutrients, energy, organic matter and can play a relevant part in the circular economy.
  • Implement sustainable and resilient wastewater management which takes social, economic, ecological and gender-sensitive aspects into account supporting innovation and eco-technologies.
  • Implement adequate water policies that support safe wastewater recycling and re-use.
  • Invest in capacity development of personnel and establish collaborations with the private sector and civil society for wastewater management.

Recommendations UNEA

  • Strengthen Global Waste Water Initiative (UNEP) including through increased cooperation with other related networks (e.g. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance SuSana)
  • Ensure UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook GEO6  - flag ship publication to be presented at the next UNEA3 – including authors with strong expertise on sustainable waste water management. 
  • Increase knowledge and use of existing guidelines for policies and practitioners for construction and management of decentralized waste water systems and the reuse of wastewater and nutrients (rural and semi-urban). 
  • Including guidelines on gender mainstreaming in decentralized waste water (UNEP/WECF)
  • Increase knowledge on the impact on public health from land based pollution of oceans, including with plastics, and role of sustainable waste water management and reducing pollution at the source, including bans on micro-plastics thin foil plastic backs