Meeting the United Nations Secretary General
January 19, 2018

The Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace, Strategic Foresight Group, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and Geneva Water Hub called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 19 January 2018. The UN Secretary General emphasised the need to reinforce the water and peace linkage in the work of the United Nations though coordination of relevant agencies and departments. He suggested that water could be the link between Sustaining Peace discourse and Sustainable Development discourse. Earlier Danilo Turk explained the key recommendations of the Global High Level Panel and Ambassador Pio Wennubst talked about implementing some of the recommendation with a series of pilot projects.

Mr Guterres also received a copy of the Water Cooperation Quotient 2017 and discussed his experience of Albufeira Convention between Spain and Portugal which has earned top rank in the world along with a few other European and West African joint river management organisations. The convention was signed in 1998 when Mr Guterres was Prime Minister of Portugal and some of its practices were refined following the study of the Water Cooperation Quotient 2015.

Global High Level Panel, SFG and others had interaction with the Chair of the UN Security Council and UN Department of Political Affairs at the UN headquarters. Mr Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, and current chair of UNSC explained several positive developments to use water as a force for peace in Central Asia with a focus on plans for historic summit meetings in March, to be followed by the launch of the decade for water. The interaction with the Department of Political Affairs focussed on the role of mediation in water disputes.

Earlier, SFG leadership spent a day at the headquarters of the UN Environment in Nairobi with a full day interaction with Erik Solheim, Executive Director and UN Under Secretary General, along with his senior management team.

SFG also had interaction with Naoko Ishii, Chair of Global Environment Fund, in Washington DC, as well as senior management of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. These interactions touched on various aspects of linkages between water cooperation, peace and security.

The visits to Washington DC and New York also included public discussions at the US Water Partnership in Washington DC and International Peace Institute, New York.