Wednesday, March 19, 2003


     Kyoto, March 19, 2003 (ANTARA) - The potential of water investments as a tool for reducing poverty and building sustainable livelihoods has not been fully realized by many people, said Asian Development Bank President (ADB) President Tadao Chino when opening the "Water and Poverty" session at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Wednesday.
        Chino urged delegates to focus pro-poor water investments for the rural poor in three main areas "water supply, sanitation and hygiene; water for production and sustainable livelihoods, including pro-poor irrigation, watershed, and ecosystem management; and the prevention and mitigation of water-related disasters.
        He emphasis that the Forum is about action, and every body is encouraged to make the meeting a Forum of action to improve water security for the poor in Asia and throughout the world.
       The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002, set a target to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to clean water and sanitation by the year 2015, and to provide water for all by 2025.
        The Asia Pacific region is home to nearly two thirds of the world's poorest people and accessing water is one of their principal concerns.
        The ADB program's Water and Poverty Initiative at the on-going Forum focuses on developing action areas in six key areas: Pro-Poor Water Governance; Improved access to quality water; pro-poor economic growth and livelihood improvement; community capacity building and empowerment; Disaster Prevention and Mitigation; and Management of the Environment.
        Wouter Lincklaen Arriens, Lead Water Resources Specialist at the ADB said that the poor depend on or are affected by water resources in four key ways. "As direct inputs into production, such as agriculture, fishing small-scale manufacturing; for health, welfare and food security. The poor are also the most vulnerable to water-related hazards, such as extreme floods, droughts, major storms, landslides and pollution.
        Shakeel Khan from Punjab Rural Water Supply Project in the session said that since the clean water supply reached villages in Punjab Province, Pakistan, the number of student enrollment to schools has increased by 70 to 90 percent, the number of death mortality of children due to diarrhea dropped by 90 per cent, the income of households has increased by around 25 per cent.
      Jan Pronk from Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council said before the closing of the session that there had been a lot of promises to help the poor and reduce poverty, but up to now they remain promises. He blamed among other things on globalization for failing to help the poor.
        "Globalization had deprived the poor from their basic needs and driven them away from the agenda. Globalization has washed away sustainability," he said.
        He called for immediate actions by learning from success lessons and implement them at a larger scale.
      A total of 17 sessions will be held under the Water and Poverty theme including two full-day programs organized by the water and Poverty Initiative with the support of ADB and collaboration partner organizations. The Third World Water Forum is being held from 16 to 23 in Kyodo, Osaka and Shiga, Japan, and being attended by around 10,000 people, including over 100 ministers. (t/f001/B/RI1)

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