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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

At World Water Week, Andris Piebalgs affirms EU’s commitment to MDGs

As World Water Week got under way last week, EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs reaffirmed the EU's commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goal pledge of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "There is a saying that ‘when the well is dry, we know the value of water.’ I think we have realised the value of water long before our well has run dry. We already know just how important it is. It's something most of us take for granted here in Europe, but it is time to turn the tide and make sure it now becomes a basic human right for everyone.”

The commissioner said that between 2002 and 2008, aid from the EU as a whole to the water and sanitation sector almost tripled, and that thanks to the European Commission, more than 30 countries now benefit from major projects that the EU is running in this area.
“Yet so much more still needs to be done,” said Mr Piebalgs. “In the next minute, three more children will have died from drinking dirty water - that's the equivalent of 4,000 every day. Women and girls are particularly affected, and miss out on opportunities to work and go to school. This is unacceptable in this day and age.

“Last year, at the MDG Summit in New York, I launched the Millennium Development Goal initiative, which will provide an extra 1 billion euro for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to help them meet the most off-track Millennium Development Goals. Water and sanitation is one of the four MDGs being specifically targeted by the initiative, which just shows how much of a priority this is for us.”

Source: European Commission