UN agency joins African Development Bank to spur clean water for cities

27 March 2006
Improving water & sanitation in Africa

The provision of safe water and sanitation in African cities will benefit from $500 million in funding from the African Development Bank (ADB) in coming years under a landmark Memorandum of Understanding signed with the United Nations agency entrusted with promoting socially and environmentally sustainable cities.

Most countries in Africa are currently falling behind in attaining the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015, the UN Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, said in a news release.

By combining UN-HABITAT’s strength in advocacy, awareness building, managerial and institutional capacity, and new and innovative approaches with ADB’s lending experience, the accord will provide a strong partnership for supporting internationally agreed goals for water and sanitation on the continent.

Under the terms of the memorandum, the Bank and UN-HABITAT will collaborate in several areas, including advocacy in specific areas such as resource mobilization in urban and peri-urban activities for the poor in water and sanitation schemes, security, gender and environmental activities.

They will co-operate in building local capacity, implementing innovative “learning by doing” demonstration projects and sharing information and experiences between the two Institutions as well as among the participating countries.

The two organizations will also prepare investment proposals for water and sanitation schemes as well as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and coordinating aid and advice to recipient countries on common areas of activities.

The ADB and UN-HABITAT will provide grants about $217 million over the next five years. It is expected that this will lead to additional opportunities for follow-up fast track loans from the Bank of about $362 million to help attainment of the MDG.

The memorandum was signed at a special ceremony last week during the Africa Regional Day at the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico City by UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka and ADB President Donald Kaberuka.

In another development, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has been awarded a Special Citation in this year’s UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award for “his tireless campaigning to promote an environmentally sustainable human habitat.”

“King Carl XVI Gustaf has always emphasized in his work the importance of urban-rural linkages to ensure sustainable development,” Ms. Tibaijuka said, citing his longstanding commitment to the natural environment and climatic change.

She also recalled that the King had recently brought to the foreground the links between climate change, natural disasters and their impacts on cities, towns and rural human settlements.


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