Spain delivers on promise of safe water
Despite progress in recent years, 11% of the world’s population -- 780 million people -- still lacks drinking water and 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation. The government of Spain has committed to changing that, and today presented the results of its work to bring water and sanitation to 3.5 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean through two international funds, including the MDG Achievement Fund.
Queen Sofia of Spain presided over the gathering at the United Nations, which included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, the Vice-President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Santiago Levy, Spain’s Minister of Health, Ana Mato, and Spain’s Secretary-General for Development and Cooperation, Gonzalo Robles.
Access to water and sanitation is a part of Millennium Development Goal #7, agreed by world leaders, that aims to halve the proportion of people lacking drinking water and basic sanitation services by 2015.
Spain’s commitment guides the activities that the Spanish Cooperation has developed through two pioneer initiatives in the development realm: The Fund for Water and Sanitation Cooperation (FCAS), established together with the Inter-American Development Bank (IBD), and the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F), established with the United Nations Development Programme on behalf of the United Nations System.
The MDG-F has supported 11 joint UN programmes to manage and conserve water resources, increase access to safe drinking water, and, by including users in the design and management of their water services, ensure that affordable and sustainable water and sanitation services reach even the most disadvantaged communtiies. Some 540,000 people enjoy access to safe drinking water as a result of the MDG-F-supported programmes.
The Spanish Cooperation and the MDG-F are committed to investing in water and sanitation as a key tool in the fight against poverty. A safe and adequate supply of water is fundamental to reducing health risks, guaranteeing the right to food, promoting equal opportunities for men and women and ensuring proper housing. According to data from the World Health Organization, each dollar invested in water and sanitation saves between US $3 and US $34 in health, education and economic development.
The two international funds supported by the Spanish Cooperation have complemented their efforts regarding water. For example, a programme that was developed by the MDG-F in conjunction with the Panamanian government was taken over, upon its completion earlier this year, by the FCAS.
Click to read UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks.
Click to read UNDP Administration Helen Clark's remarks.
Click to read about about the MDG-F's work to ensure safe water and sanitation.
Click to read The MDG-F at work: Access to water and sanitation services.
Photo by AECID