Africa: S&T Investment Needed to Hit Water SDG Targets

Zaragoza — Dedicated investment in science and technology will be needed to have any chance of reaching the proposed water and sanitation-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, delegates at the UN-Water conference in Zaragoza, Spain, heard last week.

However, the conference (15-17 January) heard that blockages such as corruption, bad governance, poor pay of water facility operators and technicians, broken infrastructure and limited finances prevent existing technologies from being effectively used and hinder the spread of innovation.

"There is a lack of scientific and technical knowledge as well as a lack of the spread of [existing] knowledge," Joakim Harlin, a senior water resources advisor at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the coordinator of the UN-Water working group on SDGs, told SciDev.Net.

Harlin pointed to a need for water technologies that do not require big infrastructure investments. Large projects such as dams may not be feasible in the future in many places due to water scarcity and a lack of funding.

Sustainable water management has been recognised as an important cross-cutting issue for the 17 SDGs being negotiated to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) this year. The proposed SDGs include several water-related targets, while the MDGs have just one.

Proposed SDG 6 […]

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