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Water Forum (Kyoto)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking following commitments made at the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto; and if she will make a statement. [108745]

The provision, use and management of water are central to both sustainable development and poverty reduction. Nearly two thirds of the world's population will be living in countries of significant water stress by the year 2025. If we do not pay more attention to equitable water management we will see conflict and war generated by water shortages. 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. The provision of clean drinking water and sanitation is essential to prevent 2 million children dying of diarrhoea every year. Carrying water also exhausts women and keeps girls out of school.The UN has designated 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater, acknowledging that global water issues need to be placed high on the international agenda. Global water issues were discussed at the Kyoto World Water Forum in March and will also be discussed at the G8 Summit in Evian in June. The UK made no new commitments at Kyoto. The third World Water Forum and the Kyoto Ministerial Declaration added little to the achievements of WSSD in Johannesburg last year but has reinforced efforts towards ensuring that the international community delivers on its promises made at WSSD.I also refer the hon. Member to see my written Statement to Parliament on Water on 28 January 2003 ahead of the World Water Forum in Kyoto in March setting out our view of the key issues in the sector and our approach to addressing them.