Finland welcomes the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028 to further improve cooperation, partnership and capacity development in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Finland has been one of the forerunners in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. One of Finland’s practical tools of the implementation is the Society’s Commitment to Sustainability, through which Finland has gathered stakeholders from different fields to promote common goals. This way we respond to the cross-cutting idea of the 2030 Agenda – the interdependence of global challenges and the comprehensive nature of the solutions adopted. As for water, the integrated approach to water and sanitation in the 2030 Agenda is a great achievement. Water relates to all other SDGs and thus, many targets cannot be reached without also meeting the targets under SDG 6 and vice versa.

Lack of safe and adequate water resources is a threat to people, ecosystems and economy in many parts of the world. Growing tensions over natural resources can act as drivers for conflict or play a role in fueling them. Implementing the entire SDG 6 will significantly increase the quality of life for millions of people at the moment living in water stressed areas and thus, it will have a positive effect on the overall peace and security of the country and region.

However, progress can only be achieved through active measures adopted by Member States and stakeholders at all levels. We need strong commitment at the global level to ensure that the scarce water resources are used most effectively. At the regional level cooperation is needed especially to ensure transboundary waters are used in a reasonable and equitable way. We also need partnerships at the national level between different actors such as government officials, the private sector and the civil society.

The International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” is a great platform to make these partnerships and commitments happen. The Decade should strengthen the political will and action to implement the SDG 6 and the goals and targets related to it e.g. by promoting related programs and mobilizing financial resources. Finland is inspired to do her part and also welcomes all Member States to join. We hereby present examples of Finland’s activities in support of the Decade: the water stewardship commitment as well as water related projects funded by Finland.

As a part of the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development 2050, the water stewardship commitment is an innovative Finnish initiative founded by Finnish ministries, institutes and WWF in 2017 to promote sustainable water use and governance especially among the private sector. The commitment provides for the first time a common framework for Finnish companies to assess and develop sustainability and responsibility of their water use throughout their operations and value chains. With the help of the commitment, companies can manage their water risks in a systematic manner and ensure their water use and water related actions are aligned with the SDGs.

Furthermore, we present water supply and sanitation and water resources management projects funded by Finland and implemented in our partner countries Nepal, Ethiopia and Kenya. These projects, inter alia, improve the management of water resources, enhance health and access to sanitation, ensure better livelihoods and food security in rural areas and strengthen the capacity of local governments to deliver services in water supply, sanitation and hygiene.