Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Positive News - Today is World Water Day

Marking World Water Day, UN to launch Water for Life Decade

To spur efforts by governments and civil society to meet agreed targets on halving the number of people lacking access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, the United Nations is launching the international Water for Life Decade on World Water Day.

With agriculture being the main consumer of water and women in developing countries often being the main carriers of water, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message, "We need to increase water efficiency, especially in agriculture. We need to free women and girls from the daily chore of hauling water, often over great distances. We must involve them in decision-making on water management."

"It has been estimated that an additional investment of $11.3 billion per year over and above current spending could result in a total economic benefit of $84 billion annually," Dr. Lee said. "The economic benefits would range from $3 to $34 per $1 invested, depending on the region."

The launch will be marked by a "Blessing of the Waters" tomorrow at UN Headquarters in New York, while a web site on the decade will be made available.

Among the goals CSD-13 will consider will be ensuring that no one is excluded from essential water supplies.

Countries could also make basic sanitation access affordable to poor people, by subsidizing household hook-ups to sewerage services, as in Jamaica and in Trinidad and Tobago, and providing cross-subsidies to meet the sanitation needs of the poor, as in Egypt, it said.


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