Attaining universal, adequate, and equitable access to safely managed water and sanitation services are at the core of inclusive and sustainable development.  Integrated water resource management approaches that overcome barriers to water and sanitation access (SDG 6) and improved health (SDG 3) are, therefore, imperative.  Moreover, risk-informed and transformative governance that increases access and affordability of safe drinking water and sanitation services must be sustained in order to advance health, livelihoods, and the dignity of all, while preserving ecosystem integrity for the benefit of generations to come.
Climate change has disrupted the world’s hydrological cycle. Extreme rainfall and changes in temperature amplify existing social vulnerabilities and threaten biodiversity. Today, more than ever, there is a critical need for nexus governance for climate and disaster resilience – one that pursues a strategic balance between supply and consumption of water for health, food, energy and environmental security.
The Philippines is moving decisively in this direction.  Our President has directed the creation of the Water Resource Management Office under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to achieve water security by integrating the functions of all agencies with water-related mandates. The WRMO is a first in our country’s history and is aligned with new legislation creating an apex body for comprehensive water resource management.
We are adopting an all hazards and risk-informed integrated water resource management approach to inform national level plans and actions across sectors and scales. Sector-wide guidance for universal access to safe, sufficient, affordable, and sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene by 2030 has been completed and the harmonization of these plans for water supply, health, sewerage and sanitation and water quality are underway. Vertical integration to ensure alignment of local government water-related policies and actions with the Philippine Development Plan are being pursued.  
We are establishing the national geospatial database for natural resources, including water, in order to achieve cross-cutting development goals, de-risk investments and improve water resource management down to the community level.  It underpins our natural capital accounting program and establishes a physical basis for the design and implementation of water-related social and infrastructure policies and programs which aim to ensure that no ecosystem or community is left behind.
Our country ranks fourth among the countries in the world most affected by water-related disasters, approximately 20 typhoons entering the country each year, bringing torrential rain and flooding and waterborne diseases. Extreme rainfall events and prolonged periods of drought have impacted our water, food and energy supply. Between 2010 and 2019, damages incurred due to droughts, floods and storms amounted to $10.25 billion. Water stress and insecurity remain and disasters move people deeper into poverty.  Climate vulnerable developing countries are faced with a similar crises.
Today, we stand ready to commit to global water sector resilience agenda that ensures reliable and equitable access to safe water, sanitation, improved health and gender equality.  This requires that we address not only the physical risks through engineering solutions but the ecological, socioeconomic, and governance challenges we face, as well. 
Hence, it is urged that the UN Water Agenda prioritize climate resilience through robust, equitable and sustainable “nature-positive” development pathways.  
Further to this, is a call for deeper integration of the water agenda into key global agreements such as the SDGs, UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, Convention on Biodiversity and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction would render the water sector as a globally important entry point to scaling up commitments to adaptation finance for reliable and safe water supply and use. We likewise intend to introduce a draft resolution on WASH in health care facilities later this year.  
The Philippines commits to foster knowledge, innovation and just partnerships in water governance.  Access to science-informed, equitable and sustainable financing and engagements with the private sector, academia, multilateral development banks, and other stakeholders in climate action are being strengthened.  
While recognizing the vital importance of traditional and local knowledge, the Philippines likewise advocates the transfer of knowledge through science, technology, engineering and innovation that addresses the water needs of developing countries while advancing global goals.  In this light, we endorse increasing support for the Global Water Operator Program which addresses the vulnerabilities and capacity building needs of water and water sanitation service providers, especially in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.
The water sector has the opportunity to lead change and deliver transformative solutions in our quest for climate-resilient and sustainable development. Let us all unleash this potential today to ensure that no person, no community and no ecosystem is left behind.  
Thank you and Mabuhay.
2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the 
UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028)
UN 2023 Water Conference
Hon. Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Head of Delegation

22 March 2023