WWF at UN 2023 Water Conference

Posted on February, 28 2023

With our partners, WWF will be playing a major role at the first global summit on water for almost 50 years
The UN 2023 Water Conference is an unprecedented opportunity to highlight the scale of the world’s water crises and build momentum for urgent action on water and freshwater ecosystems.

WWF will be sending a high level delegation to New York will play a key role with partners at both the Conference and the simultaneous New York Water Week, where will be hosting a series of major sessions - including a Special Event and over 20 official Side Events - in a variety of locations from the UN Headquaters to the Nature Hub and offices of our partner, AB InBev.

WWF's strategic focus will be on protecting and restoring healthy rivers, lakes and wetlands, driving greater progress on corporate water stewardship, scaling up NbS for water security & climate adaptation, and raising public awareness through the finale of the global Run Blue campaign.

ALL TIMES EDT (New York time)

Saturday March 18

Opening event of New York Water Week (1330-1530 in Battery Park) Mina Guli will complete marathon #198 under the WWF-supported Run Blue campaign and World Water Run as part of the official opening event, which will feature speeches from dignitaries from the UN, co-hosts of the Conference (The Netherlands and Tajikistan) and NY City.

Sunday, March 19
Our Blue World film preview (18:00-20:00 - The Forum at Columbia University) WWF is a partner on the Our Blue World film. Event will include first ever footage from the film and a panel discussion as part of Water Film Festival.

Monday, March 20
Run Blue marathon #199 (11:00-12:30 - Central Park) Mina Guli will be running her penultimate marathon in Central Park, providing people with the chance to run a km or two with her for water. WWF is a partner of Run Blue.

Tuesday, March 21
Can technology solve the water crisis?  (09:00-11:30 - AB InBev Commercial Strategy Office) This session will discuss the role of advanced technology & multi-sectoral collaboration in addressing nexus issues, and provide a deep dive into the innovative Global Water Watch platform. Co-hosted by Accenture, Deltares, Dutch government, Google, Microsoft, Zambian Water Resources Management Authority, WWF and WRI

Wastewater management in textile, footwear & leather industry (09:00-11:00 - virtual) Challenges, lessons & solutions with ZDHC, WWF, GIZ, WEF, IHE Delft, H&M, Burberry, Hugo Boss, NIKE, Elevate Textiles, Panterei.

Aligning and accelerating collective action for water stewardship (12:00-14:00 - AB InBev’s Commercial Strategy offices) Coordinated by WWF with all major water stewardship organizations, this session will focus on driving greater collective action, including publishing a draft joint collective action paper and joint mapping of '100 collective action basins'.

Collective action in the Rio Grande / Rio Bravo (14:30-16:00 AB InBev’s Commercial Strategy offices) WWF hosted dialogue on work in the river basin and how to scale up collective action and involve more partners.

Mina Guli’s 200th RunBlue marathon (12:00-16:15 - UN HQ) Final marathon ending at the UN with handover of SDG6 flag signed by people across the world calling for action to King of the Netherlands & Tajikistan President.

Wednesday, March 22
Nature-based Solutions: Perspectives from the Field (09:30-10:45 - Nature Hub) Hosted by TNC with WWF, INBO, CEO Water Mandate and AB InBev

Strategically Overcoming Barriers to Implementation of Natural Infrastructure for Water Security for Climate Resilience (09:30-10:45 - Nature Hub) This event will convene global leaders from across public and private sectors to discuss urgent need to accelerate ecologically and societally relevant implementation of water-related Natural Infrastructure at scale. Ducks Unlimited, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, WWF, TNC, Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, Marsh McLennan, PepsiCo, Two Degrees Adapt, Waterloo University, Nature Force

Restoring rivers by removing dams (11:00-12:15 - Nature Hub) Hosted by WWF, this session will show benefits to people & nature of removing obsolete dams - a proven solution to enhance connectivity, build resilience and boost biodiversity. Partners include American Rivers and Open Rivers Program.

Brighter Future: Right renewables in the right places (12:30-13:45 - Nature Hub) Hosted by WWF, this will show how we can meet global climate & energy goals without driving nature loss, sacrificing world’s last free-flowing rivers, and harming communities.

Corporate perspectives on NbS for water security (12:30-13:45 - Nature Hub) Hosted by TNC, this will include tangible examples of NBS for societal & business goals as well as discussion on opportunities & challenges for NBS investment across sectors. Partners include WWF, AB InBev, CEO Water Mandate.

Maintaining connectivity in freshwater corridors in the Amazon to sustain people and biodiversity (15:30-16:45 - Nature Hub) Hosted by TNC, this session looks at how to safeguard connectivity and free flowing rivers in the Amazon basin - and the benefits they provide people & nature. Partners include WWF, FAO, OPIAC, Synchronicity Earth, Instituto Jurua and WCS.

Nature-based Solutions: Whole of Society Approach (15:30-17:00 - Nature Hub) This session will use diverse basin examples to provide evidence and guidance on how investments in nature can address water security, nature loss and climate change through whole-of-society approaches, science, innovative governance and finance.

SPECIAL EVENT - Radical collaboration for water resilience: Action with our greatest allies in the climate crisis (15:00-18:00 - UN HQ) WWF is co-hosting this high profile 3-hour event with CEO Water Mandate and major groups (women, Indigenous Peoples, farmers, youth). This inspirational event will highlight the diverse values of water & rivers, the fact that ‘water does not come from a tap’, the need for radical collaboration to enhance the resilience of river basins, and the importance of NbS and restoration. It will conclude with major new commitments.

Thursday, March 23
FRESHWATER CHALLENGE (08:00-09:15 - UN HQ) Led by the govt of Colombia, this session will launch the Freshwater Challenge to restore 300,000km of rivers & 350 million hectares of wetlands. Coordinated by WWF, thi session will involve other champion govts, including DRC, Ecuador, Kazakhstan & Zambia as well as partners such as IUCN, Wetlands International & AB InBev.

Corporate breakfast on financing NbS for water security  (08:00-10:00 - BCG office) High level corporate event hosted by BCG and WWF on how to scale up funding for NbS for water security, climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction, particularly by leveraging private sector funds. Will also include keynote speaker from WFP.

A magic bullet: Healthy rivers for river dolphins & people (10:00-11:00  - virtual) Hosted by WWF, this will show how PAs are protecting river dolphins, rivers and people depending on them. Measured with a new tool: CA|RDS - are these PAs doing their job?

Water as a Connector: Private Sector & Civil Society Support for the Water Action Agenda (11:00-12:15 - Nature Hub) Hosted by WWF with corporate and public sector leaders to create momentum for next steps in corporate water stewardship, showcase new corporate commitments on water and demonstrate the power of public-private parternships.

Filling the Water Storage Gap  (12:30-13:45 - Nature Hub) Hosted by WWF, this session will highlight the need for an integrated approach to water storage. By bringing together govts, investors, NGOs & scientists, it will analyze lessons learned and challenges for sustainable water storage and identify key global efforts. Partners include IWMI, World Bank, Stanford University, Water for Food Institute, UMass.

Nature-based Solutions perspectives from The Coca-Cola System and Partners (12:30-13:45 - Nature Hub) Session will dive into perspectives of and lessons learned by Coca-Cola Company, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, TNC and WWF

Showcasing the power of NbS  (15:00-17:00 - Dutch Water House) Hosted by Ecoshape & Dutch water sector, this session will focus on the principles of successful NbS in the water sector and how to scale up best practices.

Setting Water Targets: A Roadmap For Companies (15:30-16:45 - Nature Hub) Participants will learn about the corporate water targets landscape, how and when to engage them, and the upcoming Science Based Targets for Nature v1.0. Hosted by SBTN freshwater hub partners and Alliance for Water Stewardship.

Common Good Outcomes through Water Stewardship (17:00-18:15) Hosted by AWS, this session presents a transformative multi-stakeholder collaboration process for govts, private sector & NGOs to advance water security.

Source to Sea with Journey of Water (18:30-19:30 - Dutch Water House). Hosted by SIWI, this session will focus on how to ensure healthy ecosystems from source to sea. It will feature Journey of Water NY video and Mina Guli.

Friday, March 24
Concrete threat to water security: Sustainable sand mining solutions to build resilience (11:00-12:15 - UNEP office) Hosted by UNEP and WWF, this session will look at impacts of sand mining on people and nature, including UNEP's 10 recommendations for sustainability and WWF's innovative sand budget in the Mekong.
WWF delegation attending the UN Water Conference and New York Water Week:

Stuart Orr, WWF Global Freshwater Lead
Melissa Ho, WWF-US, Senior Vice President, Food and Freshwater
Alexis Morgan, WWF Global Water Stewardship Lead
Michele Thieme, WWF-US Deputy Director, Freshwater
Bart Geenen, WWF-Netherlands, Lead Thematic Programmes
Marc Goichot, WWF Asia-Pacific, Freshwater Lead
Jeff Opperman, WWF Global Lead Freshwater Scientist

For speaker availability and press enquiries, please contact Richard Lee, WWF Freshwater Communications Manager at rlee@wwfint.org
New York Water Week and UN Water Conference
Sampans meet at early morning market in the Mekong Delta where rivers converge Vietnam
© Elizbeth Kemf / WWF
Aerial view of Juruena River and Salto Augusto Falls, Amazon, Brazil. WWF Juruena Expedition 2013
© © Adriano Gambarini/ WWF Living Amazon Initiative / WWF-Brazil
Freshwater Challenge launching at UN Water Conference
The Chairwoman of the Community Forest User Group drinking from the local water spout in Nepal.
© Karine Aigner/WWF-US
A herd of African elephants (Loxodonta africana ) drinking from a watering hole. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
© Richard Barrett / WWF-UK
River Mura hosts the richest fish biodiversity (51 fish species) and biggest floodplain forests in Slovenia. It is part of the 5-country UNESCO Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube or "Amazon of Europe".
© Matevž Lenarčič