Secretary Deb Haaland
U.S. Secretary of the Interior
New York, New York
March 22, 2023
Guw’aadzi haupa [INTRODUCTION IN KERES].
Greetings esteemed colleagues, leaders and friends.
My name is Deb Haaland, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, and proud member of the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico.
It is an honor to join Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to represent the United States at this historic United Nations Water Conference, and to acknowledge the ancestral homelands of the Lenape Hoking on which we have gathered.
I am grateful to be here alongside colleagues from across our Administration, each working to fight global water insecurity every single day.
Together, our nations are confronting a pivotal moment in our work to address the interlocking climate and water crises. In the 4.6 billion years that our planet Earth has endured, water has neither come in to nor left our atmosphere. It is up to us to ensure we are proper stewards of this profound gift.
Just like the UN Charter, our commitment to the 2023 Agenda and its water security components are grounded in our dedication to a peaceful, prosperous, and secure international system.
Water is life. It is essential to everything we do, from cooking our meals and raising our children to growing crops and stopping the spread of a deadly virus during a global pandemic.
Sustainable Development Goal 6 is central to meeting all our Global Goals. But we still have a long road ahead.
Even today, more than two million Americans lack access to clean drinking water at their homes. Indigenous people are 19 times more likely to lack indoor plumbing than non-Native households.
One in four people lacks access to safe water in their homes worldwide.
As a 35th generation New Mexican and Pueblo woman, I have seen and experienced the challenges of water scarcity, and how climate change puts intense pressure on vulnerable communities.
Drought and other impacts of the climate crisis know no boundaries, and the communities with the least resources to protect themselves suffer the most. This makes our collective, inclusive efforts even more important.
In my Pueblo, we sing, dance, and pray for rain. But prayers alone cannot help us to navigate this crisis. We must act swiftly and together to defend the long-term prosperity of communities everywhere.
To meet this moment, the Biden-Harris administration has launched an all-of-government approach to secure essential water resources for current and future generations.
I am honored to announce that as part of our commitments to the Water Action Agenda, the United States is contributing up to 49 billion dollars in investments to ensure that climate-resilient water and sanitation remain a priority worldwide.
This includes the release of the White House Action Plan on Global Water Security and the US Global Water Strategy. Both will strengthen local and global systems to meet the needs of underserved communities.
For example, USAID will work with Congress to commit 700 million dollars over the next three years to support local solutions to water security and sanitation challenges in 22 high-priority countries across Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa.
The International Development Finance Corporation is providing a 100-million-dollar loan to WaterEquity’s Global Access Fund, an impact investment fund that leverages public and private resources to support critical climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure.
And, through recently passed laws like President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the United States is leveraging billions of dollars in new funding to address this crisis at home.
We are ensuring resources are available for every state and Tribal Nation across our country, and we’re reducing financial burdens on U.S. Territories so they too can develop infrastructure that builds climate resilience.
Throughout this conference, the United States will continue to unveil numerous commitments for the Water Action Agenda that reflect President Biden’s historic investment in equitable, climate-resilient water and sanitation, both at home and around the world.
Our Sustainable Development Goals are – at their core – shared values to expand economic opportunity, care for our planet, uphold and defend human rights, and make sure no person or community is left behind.
The United States looks forward to collaborating with all of you to ensure the Water Action Agenda translates into real, tangible change to advance universal water security, sanitation, and hygiene.
Thank you all so much for being here today.