Remarks on SDG 6 and interlinkages with other SDGs – Clean water and sanitation at the 2023 High-Level Political Forum

Michele Sumilas
USAID Assistant to the Administrator of the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL)
New York, New York
July 11, 2023


Thank you Madame Chair, and thank you to our excellent panelists.

The United States remains committed to achieving the SDGs as part of our determination to uphold the inherent dignity of every human being. Progress on SDG6 continues to be stalled by persistent and growing challenges. This is why the Biden-Harris Administration has made water security and sanitation a priority, both at home and in our foreign policy and international assistance.

At home, the United States is investing $50 billion in climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure. Globally, the United States is one of the largest donors to water security and sanitation.

However, most countries don’t have enough financing to implement national water and sanitation plans. Financing for sanitation relentlessly lags behind water. Weak water and sanitation governance and insufficient human resources only perpetuate these gaps.

To respond, the White House Action Plan on Global Water Security is strengthening global and local systems to meet the needs of underserved populations in the drive toward 2030. The Action Plan is implemented primarily by 14 Federal departments and agencies through the U.S. Global Water Strategy.

Inequalities in access to water and sanitation services are also a constant threat, and are likely to get worse, as conflict, fragility, and climate change disproportionately impact those who are already water insecure.

Meeting the needs of historically marginalized communities now, and preparing for a changing future, requires data. This means we must collectively work towards all countries having the ability to collect and use data on behalf of all people.

At the historic UN Water Conference in March, the United States announced a $49 billion commitment to respond to these persistent barriers to a water-secure world. But the conference must be only the beginning of a new level of urgency for water security and sanitation.

The United States believes that finally achieving SDG6 requires us to acknowledge that business as usual has not been – and will not be – enough.

This is why we support the timely appointment of a UN Special Envoy on Water: to promote accountability to the Water Action Agenda, to mainstream water across the UN system, and to support Member States in their own actions towards achieving SDG6.

It’s also time that water security be added to the agenda of every other political process we engage in as we move toward a negotiated process for water. We must leverage the momentum we initiated in March, and create the conditions for SDG6 – and thereby the full implementation of the 2030 agenda – to succeed. We look forward to joining with our fellow Members here to achieve this.

Thank you.