Lack of investment in sanitation and water affecting development - Report
Posted on: 2010-Apr-24        GNA
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Poor targeting of aid for sanitation and water is undermining development efforts, leaving the poorest of the poor entrenched in poverty.

The UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) report, produced by WHO and UNICEF, shows that just 42 per cent of aid for water and sanitation was allocated to low income countries.

Only four of the top 10 donors provided 50 per cent or more of their development assistance to low income countries, resulting in the lion's share of aid not reaching the poorest communities.

Ms Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said there was a global catastrophe, which killed more children than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined and was holding back all development efforts including health and education.

She said "there are 2.6 billion people world-wide who have no access to safe sanitation and, if we continue as we are, in sub-Saharan Africa the MDG target will not be met until the 23rd Century. Yet political leaders are failing to address this deadly crisis".

Ms. Frost said the GLAAS report was released just two days before the first-ever high level meeting on sanitation and water, where ministers and policy makers from over 30 countries would have the opportunity to commit to financial and political action which would begin to reverse years of neglect.

She said, the meeting was part of an international 'Sanitation and Water for All' initiative being launched on Friday, April 23 in Washington DC prior to the World Bank Spring meetings.

Ms Frost said management of WaterAid called on leaders at the meeting to seriously tackle global water and sanitation crisis.

She asked them to ensure that no credible national sanitation and water plan failed due to lack of finance.

Ms. Frost said the report of the meeting made suggestions for improving sanitation and water adding that such decisions could prevent millions of children from dying.

She said governments must demonstrate their commitment to eradicating poverty by prioritising sanitation and water in the wider development agenda.

Mr Ibrahim Musah, Policy Manager of WaterAid Ghana, said that the report warned that lack of adequate funding was affecting the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation and that an extra 18.4 billion dollars was needed globally each year between now and 2015 to meet the water and sanitation goals.

He called on governments to support the "Sanitation and Water for All" initiative towards the promotion of health, education and economic development.

Mr Musah said WHO estimated in 2008 that more than 2.2 million child deaths per year could be prevented water, sanitation and hygiene were improved.

He said at least 4,000 children died daily as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation, 884 million people in the world did not have access to safe water, and 2.6 billion people in the world did not have access to adequate sanitation.

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