United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim have formally announced the appointment of 10 heads of state and government, including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as well as two special advisers, to the high-level UN panel on water.
The formal announcement was made on Thursday in New York.
The newly appointed other panel members are Ameenah Gurib, President of Mauritius (Co-Chair), Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico (Co-Chair), Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia, János Áder, President of Hungary, Abdullah Ensour, Prime Minister of Jordan, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, Macky Sall, President of Senegal, Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, Han Seung-soo, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea (Special Adviser) and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of State for the Environment of Peru (Special Adviser).
The panel, which was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos last January, aims to mobilise effective action to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), which focuses on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, at a time of unprecedented challenges, according to the UN news.
"Ensuring water and sanitation for all is crucial for reducing poverty and achieving other Sustainable Development Goals," said Ban in a statement issued by his spokesperson, through which he urged all partners to mobilise behind SDG 6 with political, financial and technological support.
Today, more than 2.4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation and at least 663 million do not have access to safe drinking water.
Poor sanitation, water, and hygiene lead to about 675,000 premature deaths annually, and estimated annual economic losses of up to seven percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in some countries.
Floods and droughts already impose huge social and economic costs globally, and climate variability will make water extremes worse.
If the world continues on its current path, projections suggest that the world may face a 40 per cent shortfall in water availability by 2030.
The consequences of such stress are local, transboundary and global in today's interconnected world.
The panel will provide the leadership required to tackle these challenges and champion a comprehensive, inclusive and collaborative way of developing and managing water resources, and providing improved access to clean water and sanitation.
"Growing cities and populations, as well as a changing climate, are placing unprecedented pressures on our water resources," said Kim.
"Addressing this challenge, and ensuring that we can provide clean water and sanitation for all, requires the kind of global action, strong leadership and commitment shown by the members of the High Level Panel on Water."