22-24 March 2023 | SDG Media Zone - UN Water Conference

22 March | SDG Studio: Breaking through to a Water-secure Planet

8:40 - 9:00 am

Interview with co-founders that addresses the global water crisis, gaps and challenges, moderated by UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming.


  • Matt Damon, Actor, Producer, Screenwriter and Co-founder of
  • Gary White, Co-founder of
  • Moderator: Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications

22 March | What to expect for UN 2023 Water Conference

10:00 - 10:30 am

The UN 2023 Water Conference offers the opportunity to change the course of the global water crisis. Hear more about this session. Hear more about the water crisis and the conference’s ambitious agenda in this session with the Conference co-host.


  • Kitty van der Heijden, Vice-Minister for International Development Cooperation, Kingdom of the the Netherlands
  • Mr.Jamshed Shoimzoda, First Deputy Minister of energy and water resources of the Republic of Tajikistan
  • Moderator: Nanette Braun, Conference Spokesperson

22 March | Running the world blue

11:15 - 11:45 am

World renowned water campaigner, Mina Guli, has just completed 200 marathons in 1 year for water (4 marathons a week) as part of a global campaign to raise awareness about the world’s water crises, build a movement for change, and inspire real action here at the UN Water Conference. Mina's extraordinary journey took her to 32 countries where she met people on the frontlines of the water crisis and witnessed the damage we have done to our rivers, lakes and wetlands. And the Run Blue campaign is driving change - from tens of thousands of people running with Mina to the multinational, Bayer, making water a priority and encouraging other companies to do the same.


  • Mina Guli, Marathon Runner and Activist
  • Matthias Berninger, Bayer's Senior Vice President Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability
  • Moderator: Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach Division, UN Department of Global Communications

22 March | Water Action Agenda: Changing the game

12:00 - 12:30 pm

A key outcome of the UN 2023 Water Conference will see the launch of the Water Action Agenda. Hear about the game-changing commitments at the conference which will drive this agenda.


  • Nanette Braun, Conference Spokesperson
  • Jean Baptiste Kamate, Chief Field Operations Officer at World Vision International

22 March | Bridging the financing gap

12:30 - 1:00 pm

Water is a sector which receives the lowest funding across all the SDGs, and mostly through public funding or philanthropic interventions which are not scaled. Water access, security and quality are not just developing country problems. These challenges cross boundaries. They are global. We need to build a new business model and develop a funding architecture for water, which we currently do not have. This is a call to address this finance gap, through a Finance, Innovation, Governance, Social Equity model for water.


  • Henk Ovink, Water Envoy for Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Joel Kolker, Global lead on water and finance, World Bank
  • Mr. Sulton Rakhimzoda, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan for Water and Climate
  • Moderator: Usha Roa-Monari, Associate Administrator, UNDP

22 March | Partnerships and Cooperation for Water: UN World Water Development Report 2023

1:00 - 1:20 pm

As the UN system's principal authoritative report on water, the United Nations World Water Development Report 2023 will directly inform the UN conference discussions, describing how building partnerships and enhancing cooperation across all dimensions of sustainable development are essential to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal for Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) and realizing the human rights to water and sanitation.


  • Richard Conor, Editor-in-Chief, UN World Water Development Report, UNESCO
  • Neil Dhot, Executive Director, Aquafed
  • Kristin Meyer,Programme Management Officer, Intergovernmental Processes, Interagency Cooperation and Partnerships Branch,UNDRR
  • Moderator: Conor Lennon, Producer, UN News

22 March | Football for the Goals

1:30 - 1:45 pm

Football has the power, not only to raise awareness and recognition of the SDGs, but to achieve behavioural change and sustainable practices in the football industry. Hear about how footballers are using their sport to drive action on the water agenda.


  • Kashif Mumtaz Siddiqi, Former Footballer and Co-Founder of Football for Peace
  • Joshua Ricardo Norman, All-Pro NFL Cornerback & Founding Partner of Football for Peace USA
  • Moderator: Maher Nasser, Director, Outreach Division, UN Department of Global Communications

22 March | Be the change for water

1:50 - 2:05 pm

For this World Water Day, we are asking everyone to take action for water. UN Water’s Be the Change Campaign provides an opportunity for all of us to better walk the talk” when it comes to the SDGs. This Initiative guides and encourages us to live more sustainably at work and at home by changing our consumption patterns, using active transport such as cycling and buying local foods. Everyone is welcome to participate. Learn more!


  • Kate Medlicott, Sanitation and Waste Team Leader, WHO
  • Noemie Plumier, Strategic Partnership Facilitator, World Youth Parliament for Water
  • Daniella Bostrom Couffe, Communications Manager, UN-Water
  • Moderator: Nanette Braun, Conference Spokesperson

22 March | Private Sector’s Accelerating Action on Water

2:10 - 2:30 pm

The Business Leaders’ Open Call for Water Action will be a key private sector contribution to the Water Action Agenda with at least 100 companies joining in a shared vision of direct pathways for impact. From setting contextual water targets to investments in collaborative financing vehicles, the Open Call sets a clear destination and provides a tangible roadmap to get there.


  • Sonia Thimmiah, Senior Director Global Sustainability, Corporate Affairs, HEINEKEN
  • Jason Morrison, President, Pacific Institute and Head, CEO Water Mandate 
  • Lisa Schechtman, Senior Policy and Partnerships Advisor, Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene, USAID
  • Moderator: Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General, CEO and Executive Director of UN Global Compact

22 March | Fireside chat with UN 2023 Water Conference Secretary-General

2:35 - 3:00 pm

The UN 2023 Water Conference is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the course of the global water crisis. The session will be a fireside chat with Secretary-General of the UN 2023 Water Conference, Junhua Li, to learn more about the importance of water and what to expect for the upcoming Conference.


  • Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the UN 2023 Water Conference
  • Moderator:  Jessica Lily Jenner, Partnerships Lead, DEVEX

23 March | Innovating fashion for water action

10:15 - 10:30 am

The fashion industry is responsible for the consumption of 79 trillion liters of water annually resulting in 20% of global water pollution. Join the conversation to hear how fashion innovations can help deliver on SDG 6 water actions and lead transformative sector change.


  • Tracy Reese, Founder and Creative Director, Hope for Flowers
  • Moderator: Lucie Brigham, Chief of Office, United Nations Office for Partnerships

23 March | Mapping Our Way Out of Water Shortages

10:30 - 11:00 am

Freshwater is a prerequisite for life on Earth - for humans and the natural world. Yet in many places around the world, human's unsustainable use of freshwater is a critical threat to life and a barrier to development and equity. To better understand emerging freshwater shortages and inspire sustainable action, the National Geographic Society is launching a World Water Map - as part of its 5-year World Freshwater Initiative - to map global freshwater resources and initiate impactful new work in science, storytelling, technology, and education.


  • Dr. Marc Bierkens, National Geographic Explorer, Professor of Hydrology and Vice Dean of Research Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University
  • Dr. Paul Nwulu, Senior Director, Storytelling Programs, National Geographic Society
  • Niko Wanders, Associate Professor of Hydrology, Utrecht University
  • Moderator: Nanette Braun, Conference Spokesperson

23 March | Water and Sanitation Champions: How Head of State Compacts are Accelerating SDG 6

11:00 - 11:30 am

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are often overlooked in government agendas in favor of other priorities – education, health care, peace and security. Yet WASH is linked to the achievement of all of these goals. Learn how countries can mobilize high-level engagement on WASH through Presidential Compacts.


  • Ambassador Bobby Whitfield, Chairman & CEO, National WASH Commission, Liberia
  • Moderator: Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO of Sanitation and Water for All

23 March | Water Action Agenda: Changing the game

12:30 - 1:00 pm

A key outcome of the UN 2023 Water Conference will see the launch of the Water Action Agenda. Hear about the game-changing commitments at the conference which will drive this agenda.


  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director -General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • Lifeng Li, Director, Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Moderator: Nanette Braun, Conference Spokesperson, UN Department of Global Communications

23 March | Insights from Nigeria and around the world: countries harnessing the UN Water Convention to support water cooperation

1:00 - 1:30 pm

The 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, known as the Water Convention, has proven to be a unique global legal and institutional framework for transboundary water cooperation. Iraq is among over 20 countries worldwide in the process of joining the Convention. Learn more about global momentum for water cooperation and how the United Nations is joining forces – together with governments and partner organisations - to leverage the Water Convention for joint water action.


  • Sonja Koeppel, Secretary to the UN Water Convention
  • Suleiman H. Adamu, Federal Minister of Water Resources, Nigeria
  • Moderator: Conor Lennon, Producer, UN News

23 March | World Meteorological Day, the Future of Weather, Climate and Water across generations

2:00 - 2:30 pm

How we need to accelerate integrated Climate Action and Water Action to secure a sustainable future. Water is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, but it can also be part of the solution. Water is central to the UN Campaign Early Warnings for All.


  • Prof. Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General
  • Mrs. Lindsey Blodgétt, Former President of the World Youth Parliament for Water 
  • Mr. Maarten van Aalst, Director, Royal Meteorological Institute, The Netherlands
  • Moderator: Conor Lennon, Producer, UN News

23 March | Leveraging Youth Engagement to Drive Water Action

2:30 - 3:00 pm

The session will see the launch of the Water and Climate Youth Development Plan and Agenda (YDPA) demonstrating how we can leverage meaningful youth engagement to create a powerful plan of action for key stakeholders in advancing global progress on SDG6 and SDG13.


  • Maria Mercedes Kuri, UN1FY Secretariat Member
  • Xuan Zihan, UN1FY Secretariat Member
  • Moderator: Aniek Moonen, President of the Dutch Youth Climate Movement

24 March | Facing a water challenge? We've got solutions!

10:30 - 11:00 am

Learn more about UNDP’S solutions catalogue offering tested, replicable and up scalable tools, approaches and innovations addressing challenges in ensuring water access, water security, and water quality through real stories from the ground. UNDP water projects improve lives for communities and enable various sectors to overcome water challenges exacerbated by climate change and affecting freshwater ecosystems, to accelerate sustainable development for all, leaving no one behind.


  • Mary Matthews, Former Project manager, GEF Kura Project and Senior Technical Advisor Water & Ocean a.i., UNDP
  • Damian Indij, Virtual Campus Coordinator, Cap-Net
  • Zeynu Ummer, Team leader, Africa Borderlands Centre , UNDP
  • Moderator: Shomy Chowdhury, Generation17 young leader and WASH advocate

24 March | Water For Food Security and Nutrition

11:00 – 11:30 am

Water and food security are inextricably connected. Water is a crucial element across humanitarian, development, and peace nexus. Addressing water-related issues lies at the core of responding to emergencies and tackling some of the root causes of current food security challenges. Systemic and multi-sectoral approach to water-related interventions are key to making meaningful and sustainable livelihood improvements and ensuring food security for today and in the future.


  • Michael Dunford, Regional Director for Eastern Africa, WFP
  • Claudia Sadoff, Executive Managing Director, CGIAR
  • Dean Muruven, Associate Director Water & Nature, Boston Consulting Group 
  • Moderator:  Jessica Lily Jenner, Partnerships Lead, Devex

24 March | Sustainable Development, Water and Biodiversity:  Global to local action in support of Water and the Sustainable Development Goals

11:30 – 11:50 am

The world has a number of tools at its disposal to achieve action on Water.  In 2016, the Strategic Plan was agreed by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, in 2022, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity agreed on the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.  These frameworks will contribute to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  In the context of the UN Water Conference, the Global Biodiversity Framework will provide a common framework for action on water by all stakeholders. In this event, speakers will show how these frameworks will help shape coordinated action at global, regional, national and local levels.  The important contribution of traditional knowledge by indigenous peoples and local communities will also be highlighted.


  • David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity 
  • Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands 
  • Claire Warmenbol, Manage for IUCN Communications and Partnerships
  • Pacha Kanchay of the Indigenous Yawakuna community, the Council of Ancestral Indigenous Native Authorities of Colombia, and member of the Red de Jóvenes Indígenas and Global Indigenous Youth Caucus
  • Moderator: David Ainsworth, Information Officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

24 March | Water Action Agenda: Changing the game

11:50 - 12:05 pm

A key outcome of the UN 2023 Water Conference will see the launch of the Water Action Agenda. Hear about the game-changing commitments at the conference which will drive this agenda.


  • Abishek Narayan, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)
  • Moderator: Nanette Braun, Conference Spokesperson

24 March | The Price of Water for Women and Girls

1:00 - 1:30 pm

In many countries, women and girls have the primary responsibility of managing household water supplies and sanitation. Yet due to water scarcity, corruption and high prices for vital period products, many women are paying the high price for a lack of government action on water, sanitation and hygiene. Hear what policies and investments are needed to provide gender quality.


  • Lourdes Alvarez, Senior Programme Manager, Water and Sanitation Department, Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
  • Navara Kiene, Director of Programs, WaterAid Papua New Guinea
  • Moderator: Anita Soina, Global WASH Youth Champion from the UN-hosted Sanitation and Water for All global partnership