The Philippines committed to accelerate action towards attaining universal, adequate, affordable and equitable access to safe drinking water and sanitation services during the 2023 United Nations (UN) Water Conference in New York City.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Antonia Loyzaga, designated Head of the Philippine Delegation by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., said the Philippines is committed to enact the global water sector resilience agenda through engineering solutions that address physical risks, and the ecological, socioeconomic, and governance challenges.

“Today, we stand ready to commit to a global water sector resilience agenda that ensures reliable and equitable access to safe water, sanitation, improved health and gender equality,” Loyzaga said before the UN General Assembly on March 22.

She urged member States to ensure that the UN water resiliency agenda is integrated in the key agreements under the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction to scale up commitments to adaptation finance for reliable and safe water supply management and use.

Loyzaga said the Philippines, through the collective efforts of national government agencies, is currently pursuing a strategic balance between supply and consumption of water for health, food, energy, and environmental security, and is adopting an all hazards and risk-informed integrated water resource management approach to inform national level plans and actions.

The DENR has established a national natural geospatial database to achieve cross-cutting development goals, de-risk investments, and improve water resource management down to the community level. This also underpins the Department’s natural capital accounting program that will provide a physical basis for the development and implementation of water-related social and infrastructure policies and programs.

President Marcos has also directed the creation of the Water Resource Management Office (WRMO) under the DENR, an apex body that will integrate the functions of all agencies with water-related mandates.

Loyzaga added that vertical integration is also being pursued to ensure the alignment of local government water-related policies and actions with the Philippine Development Plan.

“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 to ensure that no person, no community, and no ecosystem is left behind,” Loyzaga said.

The UN Water Conference, convened by the UN General Assembly from March 22 to 24, aims to accelerate collective action towards universal access to safe water and sanitation by 2030.

The Philippine Delegation to the 2023 UN Water Conference is composed of officials from the DENR, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Local Water Utilities Administration, National Housing Authority, and Department of Health. #