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4000 children die every day from diarrhoea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.

Water and sanitation must be prioritized if the world’s poorest are to survive

Civil society has issued a stark warning at the close of the UN Least Developed Country Conference (LDC-IV), which was held in Istanbul this week

Press release - 14 May 2011

The Istanbul Programme for Action has ambitious targets for the coming decade on water and sanitation, including meeting the MDG targets on sanitation – the most off-track sub target in the MDG framework – and striving to ensure sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation to all by 2020. However, in the context of little change in the amount of aid, of numerous other commitments, and current slow progress, there is concern that these targets will not result in actual change for the poorest communities.

As developing countries and development partners now look to implementing the Programme for Action, Professor Anna Tibaijuka, Tanzanian MP, Minister for Lands and Human Settlement and Chair of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council gave encouragement to them. “Governments in the world’s Least Developed Countries have an opportunity to realize huge gains for their people by addressing the basic needs for better sanitation, good hygiene and safe drinking water”, she continued, “Investing in sanitation improves health, prevents child deaths and increases productivity.  It makes good economic sense: a return of around $9 for every dollar invested.”

A key way to ensure these ambitious targets are met include the newly launched Sanitation and Water for All partnership, a framework which involves the active participation of donors, developing countries, multilaterals and civil society, and already supported by the governments of UK, Germany, the Netherlands and many LDCs including Nepal, Liberia and Bangladesh.

“Leaders have an ideal opportunity in the Sanitation and Water for All partnership to ensure the Istanbul Programme for Action delivers what it promises on water and sanitation – action for the poorest and most marginalized. But the conference focus on the private sector and the resistance of donors to provide more or better targeted aid is alarming.” said End Water Poverty International Coordinator Fleur Anderson. “The millions of children dying each year from preventable waterborne diseases and the millions of women still forced to walk into fields to relieve themselves, or walk for hours to collect water cannot afford for the water and sanitation to be continue to be ignored. To put it simply, without water and sanitation, the fight against poverty will not be won.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

Fleur Anderson, International Coordinator of End Water Poverty and Serena O’Sullivan, coordinator of the World Walks for Water, are available for interview. Please contact: Fleur Anderson 00447920080855 or Serena O’Sullivan 0044 20 7793 2231

Background info:
500 million people in LDCs do not have access to sanitation, and 300 million live without adequate access to water.

In the lead up to the conference over 350,000 people took part in ‘The World Walks for Water’ events in over 80 countries. They called for leaders at this week’s United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) in Istanbul to urgently tackle the world sanitation and water crisis, and warned that if they fail to do so, the fight against poverty in the world’s poorest countries will be lost. Marches took place in many of the LDCs including Nepal, Timor Leste, Togo, Bangladesh, Uganda and Malawi.

For more information on Sanitation and Water for All, please visit: http://www.sanitationandwaterforall.org/

For more on End Water Poverty's work on the LDC conference, please see here.

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