Seventeen organizations have joined forces to support the United Nations (UN) Water Action Agenda, pledging to invest $11 billion in water innovation over the next five years.

The collective commitment will be announced later today at an event organized by water technology company Xylem (NYSE: XYL) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, convened during the UN 2023 Water Conference. The pledges will be included in the Water Action Agenda, a collection of all water-related commitments to accelerate progress on UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 targeting Water and Sanitation.

Executives from Xylem, Veolia, XPV, Hydraloop International, and Hansgrohe will be joined by several nonprofit organizations, to pledge their commitment to invest in innovative water solutions. The funds will be directed toward water-related research and development, start-up companies commercializing innovative approaches to water management, and the deployment of new water technologies. The organizations will also commit to ongoing engagement with development agencies, governments, and other stakeholders to facilitate more cross-sector action to solve water challenges.

“Most of humanity’s challenges today stem from our reliance on water, whether for human life or, on a larger scale, economic well-being and prosperity of society,” said Henk Ovink, Water Envoy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. “We all need it, but in some places there is too much and in other places there isn’t enough. As significant water investors and users, the private sector has a pivotal role to play. The organizations pledging their commitment today are at the forefront of bringing new innovations to water use, treatment, and recycling. This type of collective action is essential to tackling major water challenges, and to creating a sustainable planet for future generations.” 

The commitment from the private and philanthropic sectors to invest in water solutions supports the UN 2023 Water Conference’s call for clear pledges and actions, across all sectors, industries, and interests to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“For those who can simply turn on a tap, water may not seem like a problem,” said Patrick Decker, CEO of Xylem. “But the UN 2023 Water Conference is a timely reminder that water challenges are intensifying around the world. The organizations making commitments today recognize these are challenges we can and must solve. Many of the essential technologies already exist, but as climate change progresses, we need more innovative solutions and accelerated implementation to increase the resilience and water-security of communities everywhere.”

The inclusion of the private sector in the UN 2023 Water Conference, the first event of its kind since 1977, has been welcomed as essential in developing an impactful Water Action Agenda. The conference brings together stakeholders from across governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, nonprofits, academic institutions, and the scientific community to advance transformative ideas that can solve global water challenges.

Organizations contributing to the pledge include Acciona, Autodesk, BlueTech, Burnt Island Ventures, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Evoqua, Grundfos, Hansgrohe, Hydraloop, Idexx, UGSI Solutions, Veolia, Water Foundry Ventures, Wavin, Westly Group, XPV and Xylem.

The event – Private Sector Investment Commitment to Water Innovation – will convene technology innovators, investors, government, civil society, and development agencies to consider the role of innovation in advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Organized by Xylem and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York, the event will be hosted in partnership with Bluetech Research, Burnt Island Ventures, Evoqua, the International Water Association, Mercy Corps, UNICEF, the Water Foundry, Veolia, the WateReuse Association, and the Water Research Foundation.