High Level Panel on Water

  • Speech, check against delivery

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen

First, I extend my sympathies on behalf of the Australian Government to the people of Mexico affected by the devastating earthquake that occurred on 19 September 2017.

Australia is pleased to be a part of this Panel. As the world's driest inhabited continent, Australia understands the ongoing challenge of managing scarce water resources for economic growth, human development and the environment.

Australia supports the draft key messages to be delivered at the conclusion of the Panel. Their focus on national responsibility to put in place policies that can achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 is most important. Leadership at home will be critical to building the credibility and momentum of the messages delivered by the Panel.

Australia endorses the plan to deliver an open letter to all Heads of Government/State, the UN Secretary-General and World Bank President, setting out a new narrative and a new approach to managing water, in order to reverse current practices.

Backing up a set of clear and strategic messages with practical initiatives will maximise the impact of the Panel's work. Australia's three initiatives under the High Level Panel – water use efficiency, water data and innovation - are progressing well.

We will deliver a set of practical proposals to increase water use efficiency. These include promoting a new ISO standard for water efficient household products and appliances.

Accurate robust data is vital to making sound decisions about water management. The Panel's Australia-led World Water Data Initiative will help reduce the cost and complexity of accessing and using information about water resources.

I am pleased to announce that Australia has established the Water Innovation Engine, to generate creative solutions and promote greater coordination and investment in water sector innovation. Australia's investment of USD 6 million will help identify, test and scale high impact innovations, with an initial focus on water data and urban sanitation.

I encourage you to join the Water Innovation Engine and I am ready to take your calls, especially from the Prime Minister of the Netherlands after his positive comments!

Australia is pleased with the progress of the Panel. Cooperation among Panel members has been dynamic and productive. Let's ensure that we bring the leadership needed to forge change, and deliver the new thinking needed to meet the world's water challenges.

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