Annan creates new Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation

21 March 2004

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has used this year's observance of World Water Day to announce the establishment of an Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, which aims to galvanize global action on these issues as part of international efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has used this year's observance of World Water Day to announce the establishment of an Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, which aims to galvanize global action on these issues as part of international efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.

Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan has agreed to serve as Chairman of the Board, which will also include a wide range of eminent persons, technical experts, and other individuals with proven experience in inspiring people, moving the machinery of government, and working with the media, the private sector and civil society.

Mr. Annan has asked the Board to use the unique expertise of its members to raise awareness of water and sanitation issues, to help mobilize funds for water and sanitation projects, and to encourage new partnerships.

At the UN's Millennium Summit in 2000, national leaders from across the globe pledged to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach, or to afford, safe drinking water. They also pledged to stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources by developing water management strategies that promote equitable access and adequate supplies.

A similar goal -- to halve, also by 2015, the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation – was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. This target placed access to sanitation at the centre of the poverty-eradication commitments. World leaders have also agreed to develop, by 2005, integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans.

An estimated 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion people are without basic sanitation. The UN estimates that in order to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water, 270,000 new connections will have to be made each day, and more than twice as many to meet the goal for sanitation.

In his message for World Water Day, Mr. Annan notes that while the international response to the world water predicament contains much admirable effort, for the most part it has been inadequate, leaving an “urgent need to go beyond business as usual.”

In addition to Mr. Hashimoto, Board members include Mahmoud Abou Zeid, Egypt's Minister of Irrigation and Water; Michel Camdessus, Special Representative of the President of the Republic of France for Africa; Juanita Castaño, Former Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia; Uschi Eid, Parliamentary Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany; Angel Gurria, Former Minister of Finance of Mexico; Ronnie Kasrils, Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry Department of Water Affairs and Forestry of South Africa; Olivia la O' Castillo, President Philippine Pollution Prevention Roundtable; Eric Odada, Director, Department of Geology, University of Nairobi; Gérard Payen, Senior Executive-Vice-President, Suez; Judith Rees, Deputy Director, London School of Economics and Political Science; Christine Todd Whitman, Former Administrator Environmental Protection Agency of the United States; and Peter Woicke, Executive Vice President, International Finance Corporation, Washington, D.C.

 

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