honors outstanding contributions to global water and sanitation
ON HABITAT DAY, ANNAN CALLS FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN WATER
SUPPLIES AND SANITATION
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for increased
investment from all sectors of society to improve water supplies
and sanitation for the urban poor worldwide in a statement marking
World Habitat Day today (Oct. 6, 2003).
With half of the world's population
living in towns and cities, "at least 1 billion people suffer
from the dangers and indignities associated with the lack of clean
water and adequate sanitation," he said
> . "Increased investment
is critical, whether small-scale projects at the local level or
national efforts to build up essential infrastructure."
In Africa, 150 million people lack
a good water supply and 180 million lack decent sanitation. In Asia,
those figures were 700 million and 800 million and in Latin America,
120 million and 150 million, respectively, he said.
This year's World
Habitat Day < http://www.unhabitat.org/whd/2003/default.asp
> theme is "Water
and Sanitation in Cities."
As much as half of the urban water
supply could be wasted through leakage or poor administration, Mr.
Annan said, so greater emphasis had to be placed on management strategies
to increase efficiency, improve maintenance and raise the income
of local water authorities. New local and national policies should
include all water users, including those in agriculture, a sector
that accounts for more than three-quarters of all fresh water consumption,
"Cities and towns have always
been centres of opportunity, but without adequate shelter and basic
services, urban environments can be among the most life-threatening
on earth," the Secretary-General said. "In agreeing on
the Millennium Development Goals (in 2000), governments pledged
to halve the number of people living without clean water and decent
sanitation by 2015 and to improve the living conditions of at least
100 million slum dwellers by 2020."
Meanwhile, the President of the General
Assembly, Julian R. Hunte of St. Lucia said it was fitting that
the theme for World Habitat Day reinforced the Millennium Development
"I have placed development at
the top of my list of priorities for the fifty-eighth session"
of the General Assembly, he said. "I have done so not only
to emphasize the imperative of sustainable development but also
because global problems such as poverty hunger and shelter belong
to all of us. Therefore, we must all work together - governments,
international organizations, civil society and individuals - to
ensure that people are given the means to lift themselves out of
the morass of poverty."
The day was observed in several countries,
with the main ceremony taking place in Brazil, hosted by Rio de
Janeiro Mayor Cesar Maia. The Executive Director of the UN Human
Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Ann Tibaijuka, and the chairman
of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, Norwegian Environment
Minister Borge Brende attended.
Like the Secretary-General, Ms. Tibaijuka
> for increased mobilization
of resources to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
At the ceremony, awards went to individuals and groups making
outstanding contributions to solving national and global water and
They were the National Association of Municipal Sanitation
(ASSEMAE) of Brazil; Global Water Forum chairman Margaret Catley-Carlson
of Canada; the Weihai Municipal Government of China; Colombian Ambassador
German Garcia Duran; Zena Daysh of the Commonwealth Human Ecology
Council (CHEC) and ComHabitat; and sanitation expert Bindeshwar
Pathak of India.
Also honoured were Iraqi housing activist Nasreen Mustafa Sideek;
the housing upgrading group Pamoja Trust of Kenya; South African
housing expert Senkie Mthembi-Mahanyele; the Water Supply and Sanitation
Collaborative Council (WSSCC/WASH) of Switzerland; and urban land
tenure expert Teolinda Bolivar of Venezuela.
Panel discussions on the theme were
held in cities and towns in India, Japan, Russia and the United
Kingdom, as well as at UN Headquarters in New York.
to UN Radio report < http://www/av/radio/news/2003/oct/03100603.ram
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UN Oct 6