This side event  at the UN 2023 Water Conference presented a summary of the challenges facing Pacific Island Countries and Territories, and the concrete actions that must be taken to meet SDG6.

These challenges and actions were identified at the 6th Pacific Water and Wastewater Ministers Forum held in November 2022 in the Republic of Fiji. The official communique from the event is available here.

The forum provided the opportunity for government ministers to acknowledge that despite progress, particularly in data benchmarking and gender equity, diversity and inclusion, the region is collectively off track to meet SDG6 targets for universal access to safe water and sanitation.

Common obstacles faced by Pacific Island Countries and Territories to meeting SDG6 include:

  • threats to water security including saline ingress and depletion of groundwater resources;
  • degradation of catchments and pollution of surface waters;
  • exposure and increased vulnerability to natural disasters, climate change and the COVID 19 pandemic,
  • the retention of local technical expertise and human capacity; and
  • critical gaps in data for planning and operational decisions.

In response to these challenges the ministers have identified four key actions

  • greater collective participation of the water sector in dialogue on climate and disaster resilience;
  • scaling up national and regional investment in science, infrastructure and local capacity to establish and maintain appropriate, sustainable and climate resilient WASH solutions;
  • urgent action to provide access to the estimated 1.8million people living in the region without safe sanitation and hygiene; and
  • investment to improve monitoring, regulation, treatment, reuse and safe disposal of wastewater.
Date and time

Fiji – 21 March (Tues), 10:00am to 11:00am

Sydney - 21 March (Tues), 9.00am to 10.00am

New York – 20 March (Mon), 6:00pm - 7:00pm

  1. HON. RO FILIPE TUISAWAU MP, Minister for Ministry of Public Works and Meteorological Services - Watch video presentation
  2. MR. TAITUSI VAKADRAVUYACA, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Public Works and Meteorological Services - View PPT presentation
  3. MS. PITOLAU LUSIA SEFO LEAU, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Water and Wastewater Association
  4. MR. IAN GOODEN, Chairperson, Pacific Water and Wastewater Association

MR. MANASA TUSULU, Manager Research Evaluation & Monitoring, Water Authority of Fiji

This event was organised by UNSW Global Water Institute and sponsored by UNSW Engineering for the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF), Pacific Water and Wastewater Association (PWWA) and Ministry of Public Works, Meteorological Services and Transport (MIMS)

Watch the full event video