WHO at the UN Water Conference 2023

The UN 2023 Water Conference takes place 22-24 March in New York and is the most important United Nations-hosted event on water supply, sanitation and hygiene in some 50 years. 

WHO is engaged in a variety of different aspects for the event, advocating primarily for the crucial role that safely managed water supply, sanitation and hygiene have for the health of people on the planet.

The vision for the conference is to fundamentally understand, value and manage water, sanitation and hygiene better and take concerted action to achieve the internationally agreed water, sanitation and health-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Read about our events below:

The Interactive Dialogue on Water and Health

health worker washing handsThe conference will include an opening and closing session, six plenary sessions, and five interactive dialogues, as well as side events organized by participants. It will result in a summary of proceedings from the UNGA President that will feed into the 2023 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

As part of preparation for the conference, WHO and UNICEF led a collaborative, sector-wide development of one of the conference’s key interactive dialogue papers, ‘Water for Health’. 


Interactive Dialogue – Water for Health

Concept paper : Water for Health


WHO official side event on water and health: watch live!

Girls getting water from a water point

WHO will host ‘WASH as a driver of improved health, Wednesday, 22 March, 11:00 – 12:15, in Side Event Room 7. The event will also be broadcast live by UN Webcast – click here at that time to watch

The side event will explore how the WASH and the health sectors can work more closely together to improve health and achieve shared aims. In particular, it will strengthen the ability of WASH professionals to build bridges to health counterparts by:

  • Sharing the latest evidence on the linkages between WASH and health
  • Highlighting the role of the health sector in WASH, including on health-protecting norms and standards, risk-based planning and regulations, ensuring health care facilities have and sustain adequate WASH services, and sharing health data to inform WASH service delivery.
  • Sharing experiences of successful partnerships and actions to accelerate progress on safe and sustainable WASH services and to ultimately reduce WASH-related health burden.

Session organizers and speakers will represent WHO, Government of India, Government Ethiopia, Government of France, UNICEF, World Bank, WaterAid, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Link to UN Web TV


WHO official side event on New momentum to make safe water and sanitation a reality for all: How to scale up globally practical tools and know-how gained under the Protocol on Water and Health?

event announcementThe world needs accelerated action and practical solutions and tools to achieve the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and make universal access to clean water and safe sanitation a reality for all. We need to build on successes and scale up, building on workable tools to close the persisting gaps.  

The event aims at presenting the practical tools developed under the Protocol on Water and Health available to governments, local authorities and communities that had proven effective in supporting progress towards reaching SDG 6 and building safe and climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services fit for the future. 

The event is co-organized by Hungary, Germany, Portugal, Women for Water Partnership, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe 

Read more about the session here


Make a personal commitment for World Water Day and read WHO’s commitment to the Water Action Agenda

picture of a blue bird with water drops from its beak

Water Water Day is 22 March 2023, and this year the theme is ‘accelerating change‘. World Water Day is arranged by UN-Water and its many members and partners, including WHO. In addition to encouraging governments to work on average four times faster to meet SDG 6 by the globally agreed date of 2030, individuals, families, schools and communities are encouraged to make a commitment to changing the way water is used, consumed and managed daily. 

Through the Water Action Agenda, WHO is committing to ‘accelerating professionalized water supply and sanitation services through capacity building in regulation for dramatic improvements in water, sanitation, and hygiene in health care facilities.’

A highlight of the week will be the Sanitation Workers Exhibition, taking place all day from 22 to 24 March on the ground floor of the UN conference centre (see location of exhibitions here).

The exhibition is an initiative of the Initiative for Sanitation Workers, supported by WHO, WaterAid, the International Labour Organization (ILO), SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the World Bank, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and in collaboration with the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).

Learn more about WHO’s work with sanitation workers here






WHO @ other UN 2023 Water Conference side events

Besides arranging the ‘WASH as a driver of health’ side event on 22 March, WHO will also contribute to a number of other side events during the UN 2023 Water Conference, many of which will also be webcast online (see here for a listing of all on-site, off-site and virtual side events and programs, including any updates to times and locations). The list of WHO-engaged events is below. All events are at UN Headquarters, unless otherwise indicated:

2 with 8 side event on failures and success with Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS), Tuesday, 21 March, 09:00 – 10:00, Virtual (register here

Towards World Water Workforce initiative: Commitments to close the professional gap in water and sanitation to achieve global water security, Tuesday, 21 March, 12:30 -18:00, Black Box Theatre, Avenues The World School, 259 10th Ave, New York, NY 10001.

Cross-sectoral partnerships to accelerate progress towards inclusive sanitation, Wednesday, 22 March, 11:00 – 12:15, Side Event Room B. 

Integrated water and climate solutions – From science to decisions to actions, Wednesday, 22 March, 12:30 – 13:45, Side Event Room A. 

New momentum to make safe water and sanitation a reality for all: How to scale up globally practical tools and know-how gained under the Protocol on Water and Health?, Wednesday, 22 March, 14:00 – 15:15, Side Event Room 9. 

Accelerating women’s inclusion in water, Wednesday, 22 March, 14:00 – 15:15, Side Event Room B. 

Systems strengthening and leadership for sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services for all, Wednesday, 22 March, 18:30 – 19:45, Trusteeship. 

The water-climate nexus: Governance as a key driver for climate resilient water and sanitation services, Wednesday, 22 March, 18:30 – 19:45, Side Event Room 5. 

Leaving No One Behind: Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals in humanitarian settings, Thursday, 23 March, 08:00 – 09:15, Side Event Room 9. 

Data for decision-making: committing to improve data use and insights, Thursday, 23 March, 08:00 – 09:30, Deloitte office, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York.

A Global Commitment to Stop the Flow of Lead in Drinking Water, Thursday, 23 March, 11:00 – 12:15, Side Event Room 8. 

Joint Commitments to transforming water governance, climate adaptation and biodiversity: Indigenous Peoples, Member States and the UN system, Thursday, 23 March, 13:30-14:50, UNDP office, New YOrk

Accelerating the achievement of SDG 6 in LLDCs, Thursday, 23 March, 15:30 – 17:00, Trusteeship Council

Assessing public spending in the water sector & addressing financing gaps, Thursday, 24 March, 13:00-15:00, Millennium Hilton Riverview Room, Floor 28, New York. 

Global to local water security assessment: how do we measure up and how close are our targets mid-way to SDG6?, Thursday, 23 March, 15:30 – 16:45, Side Event Room 9. 

Wastewater-based epidemiology, Friday, 24 March, time TBC, Turkey House, New York

Pollution, sanitation, water quality and climate resilience, a call to action, Friday, 24 March, 09:30 – 10:45, Trusteeship. 

Panel discussion on progress towards achieving the targets to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities, Friday, 24 March,11:00 – 12:15, Conference Room 8.

Accelerating progress on safe sanitation and hygiene for all: Countdown to 2030, Friday, 24 March, 12:30 – 13:45, ECOSOC. 

Public dialogue on the UN-Water SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2023, Friday, 24 March, 13:15 – 14:30, Special Event Room (CR2). 

Uganda’s response to conflict and climate change induced migration and displacement through improved water services and water security, Friday, 24 March, 14:00 – 15:15, Side Event Room 6. 


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Written by Ethiotime1

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