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Volume 560: debated on Wednesday 13 March 2013

The total funding provided by the Department for International Development to WaterAid for the financial year 2011-2012 was £5.8 million. The figure for the funding allocated to WaterAid in 2012-13 will be available at the end of this financial year.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Will she join me in preparing for world water day on 22 March? Will she also recognise the massive contributions from individuals and others, including water companies, who contribute to WaterAid, and from projects such as EcoLink, applied by Nestlé in South Africa, as that all benefits developing countries?

I thank my hon. Friend. I know of her interest in water as chair of the all-party parliamentary water group and I congratulate all those who make a contribution on the key issue of water in developing countries. My hon. Friend mentioned world water day. The Department for International Development will host events on that day, particularly on how water impacts on girls and women.

It is good that there has been progress on access to safe water and sanitation, but there has been much less progress in much of Africa, in both urban and rural areas. What are the Government doing to address that inequality?

The Government are taking a great many measures on water, sanitation and hygiene—WASH. We have so far enabled 1.9 million to gain access to clean drinking water and 2 million to gain access to improved sanitation, and 6.6 million have been reached through DFID support for hygiene promotion. We know more has to be done, particularly in urban areas as those areas increase.

I welcome the Minister’s positive comments on WaterAid and her commitments in respect of world water day, but does she recognise that, currently, UN statistics on the millennium development goals measure only who has improved water, not how many people actually have safe and sufficient water? Will she ensure that a more robust standard is used and is at the centre of DFID’s work?

I will certainly take up the hon. Gentleman’s point on how we measure such things, but the Government have doubled their commitment to reaching 60 million people with WASH funding. We are looking to scale up WASH, because we simply are not reaching enough people at the moment and the millennium goal is off track.