UN GCNI’s Water and WASH Workstream

Tue, 28th February, 2023 @ Online

The Water and WASH workstream is a multi-stakeholder platform, hosted by the UN GCNI and supported by – the Ministry of Jal Shakti and UNGC’s CEO Water Mandate, dedicated to promoting SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation in India.

Today, access to both Water and Sanitation is widely recognized as a basic Human Right – sustaining life and health. The importance of water to our existence cannot be stressed enough and the pandemic has made us realize the importance of having reliable, sustainable and affordable access to Water and Sanitation services for everyone. Water scarcity also poses a direct threat to our industries, businesses and thereby the economy.

Water Crisis Fact Summary as per UNGC CEOs Water Mandate:

– Water is a pervasive and vital sustainability challenge today. Nearly two billion people live in water-stressed areas, while over two billion people live without access to safe drinking water.
– Water is also a multi-faceted issue, spanning not only water scarcity, but pollution, access to water and sanitation services, and more.
– Water and climate are inextricably linked. Climate impacts often manifest as water challenges.

Driven by the UNGC CEO’s Water Mandate and the Government of India’s mandate on Water and WASH UN GCNI, in collaboration with 4 corporate partners – Accenture, Vedanta, Mindtree, Dr. Reddy’s and 2 knowledge partners – SM Sehgal Foundation and NCML, are part of UNGCNI’s Water Conservation and WASH Workstream to promote SDG 6 on a national platform and contributing towards the National and Global agenda for SDG 6.

The workstream is drafting a white paper under the mentioned workstream to examine issues pertaining to – ow Indian businesses can invest their Sustainability efforts and resources to improve Water Stewardship across India through a long-term commitment, thereby contributing to SDG 6. The two areas of research under this white paper are: 1.) the availability and quality of water for drinking and sanitation and, 2.) availability of water for farming. The white paper involves extensive primary and secondary research from Akola district, Maharashtra, which will provide the basis to draw a national level framework for similar climate vulnerable regions.

As a part of this initiative, UN GCNI organized the Water and WASH challenge which brought forth pan-India initiatives undertaken by Indian Businesses to help address SDG 6 and showcased several of their best practices. The challenge emphasized on the need to introduce innovative solutions to embed technology and sustainability in business operations and achieve corporate stewardship. The Grand Finale of this Challenge will be held in February 2023.

UN-GCNI also convened a stakeholder consultation, under this workstream, aiming to bring government agencies, corporates, NGOs, and academic partners on the same platform to discuss issues and possible solutions pertaining to SDG 6 with an emphasis to improve Water Stewardship across India through a long-term commitment. The consultation helped amplify the conversation around Water and WASH in India, synthetize the white paper and identify recommendations for a national policy framework. Further, the consultation helped conceptualise ways to ensure greater corporate participation towards achieving Water stewardship and moving towards sustainable development.