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  • by Trevor Loveday

World's poor need urgent step up in water investment warns United Nations

The United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have called for an “urgent increase in investment in strong drinking-water and sanitation systems,” after a UN report showed provision of water and sanitation services in the world’s poorest countries was in jeopardy from inadequate resources.

The UN-Water Global Assessment and Analysis of Sanitation and Drinking-Water 2019 reported “in an overwhelming majority of countries, the implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene policies and plans is constrained by inadequate human and financial resources.” The call came as the international water sector met in Stockholm for its annual conference during World Water Week.

The report – published by WHO – showed that 19 countries and one territory reported a funding gap of more than 60% between identified needs and available funding. And less than 15% of countries had the financial or human resources to implement their plans.

Global Campaigns Director at WaterAid, Savio Carvalho, commented there report: “Investing in clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene brings a return on investment of 400% in terms of increased productivity and so is one of the best investments any government can make to improve the lives of their population.

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told the Stockholm conference: “We call on all countries that lack essential water and sanitation infrastructure to allocate funds and human resources to build and maintain it.”

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