COP28 – France and Kazakhstan launch the One Water Summit’s international steering committee today (10 December 2023)


Joint communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion

Announced by President Emmanuel Macron and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the start of COP28, the One Water Summit will be held in New York in September 2024. Its international steering committee was launched today at COP28 by Barbara Pompili, President Macron’s Special Envoy for the One Water Summit, and Zulfiya Suleimenova, the President of Kazakhstan’s Adviser and Special Representative on International Environmental Cooperation. Christophe Béchu, representing France, also announced that it would be joining the Freshwater Challenge coalition.

The global water crisis is deteriorating under the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. The situation is made worse by the absence of appropriate water governance at every level. Faced with this situation, the UN 2023 Water Conference in March acknowledged the global water crisis and a new global water agenda was launched with the coming UN Water Conference in 2026 and the preparation of a UN system-wide strategy on water and sanitation. COP28 is also an important first step towards including water in climate discussions, action and finance.

Presidents Macron and Tokayev announced on 1 December that a One Water Summit would be held in New York in September 2024, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s high-level session. The One Planet format co-chaired by France and Kazakhstan on key water issues is essential for several reasons. Water is a global public good and will be a key challenge amid the explosion of conflicts, migration flows and major impacts on food systems and a massive degradation of natural ecosystems between now and 2050. International water cooperation must therefore be reviewed. Lastly, solutions to guarantee access to water must be completely reinvented, using a multi-actor approach.

To begin preparations for such a summit, Christophe Béchu represented France at the launch of the steering committee. Chaired by Barbara Pompili and Zulfiya Suleimenova, this international steering committee will bring together ministers representing all areas of the world, representatives of the United Nations and international organizations, local authorities, financial stakeholders and those involved in the water issue (NGOs, private operators etc.).

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ teams, under the authority of Minister Colonna, and teams from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, under the authority of Minister Béchu, are working actively to prepare this summit with Kazakhstan.

Finally, France has joined the Freshwater Challenge coalition, supported by the governments of Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Gabon, Mexico and Zambia. Launched during the UN 2023 Water Conference in March, the initiative is the most significant ever launched to restore rivers, lakes and degraded wetlands. In the framework of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the project calls on all governments to commit to achieving clear targets for restoring healthy freshwater ecosystems, with a view to restoring 300,000 kilometres of rivers and 350 million hectares of wetlands by 2030.