Goals, progress and priorities from Mar del Plata in 1977 to New York in 2023

  • UN 2023 Water Conference, UN Headquarters, New York, 22-24 March 2023
  • Access at ResearchGate a free preprint/draft of the article ‘Goals, progress and priorities from Mar del Plata in 1977 to New York in 2023’ published in Nature Water, March 13, 2023. For a limited time only the published manuscript is free to download at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s44221-023-00041-4


The United Nations (UN) 1977 Water Conference at Mar del Plata (MDP) sought to avoid a water crisis of global dimensions by 2000 and to ensure an adequate supply of good-quality water to meet socio-economic needs. While much has been achieved, the MDP goals are not yet realized. Unsafe, or perceived to be unsafe, drinking water still affects at least two billion people, unsafe sanitation affects more than four billion people, and billions face severe water scarcity for at least part of the year. At the mid-point of the 2018–2028 International Decade for Action, Water for Sustainable Development, the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York City offers a unique opportunity to review progress on global water goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Sustainable Development Goal 6 and its targets. Here we document the global goals and progress from MDP to New York City and highlight priorities to deliver on the MDP goals and beyond.


R. Quentin Grafton (Corresponding author), Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Acton, Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Asit K. Biswas, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. Hilmer Bosch & Joyeeta Gupta, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Safa Fanaian, The School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Aromar Revi, Neha Sami, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bengaluru, India. Cecilia Tortajada, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, Dumfries, UK.

Cite this article

Grafton, R.Q., Biswas, A.K., Bosch, H. et al. Goals, progress and priorities from Mar del Plata in 1977 to New York in 2023. Nat Water (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s44221-023-00041-4.

Contact: Professor R. Quentin Grafton FASSA Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University & Honorary Professor Australian Catholic University.

Email: quentin.grafton@anu.edu.au | Cell: +61 410 680 584