Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr today announced Australia will join the global Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Partnership. Being a member of SWA will allow Australia to add its voice to the global call to support the world's poor with improved access to safe water and basic sanitation.
“In Australia, we are fortunate to have access to clean, safe drinking water and modern water and sewage systems,” said Senator Carr. “Yet for many of the world's poor, the simple act of quenching their thirst is fraught with danger.”
“Sanitation and Water for All is an important partnership between developing countries, donors, multilateral agencies, and civil society that aims to put an end to this situation.
“It provides an opportunity for partners to discuss and address obstacles to the world achieving universal and sustainable access to sanitation and drinking water.
“Australia is delighted to join the cause and contribute our recognised expertise in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector.”
Australia works to increase access to safe water and basic sanitation, promote good hygiene practices, and strengthen water and sanitation systems in developing countries through the overseas aid program.
Australian aid has helped provide new water systems to more than 155 thousand people in East Timor since 2002 and brought drinking water to some of the nation's most remote communities. In 2010-11 AusAID's Water and Sanitation Initiative helped connect more than 330 thousand people to water and sewerage networks in Indonesia and provided better access to clean water for an estimated 2.5 million in rural Vietnam.
Senator Carr noted a recent UN announcement that the Millennium Development Goal target to halve the number of people without access to safe water has been met.
“Hitting such an important target five years before the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline shows we're on the right track, but with 780 million people still without access to clean water and the target for sanitation unlikely to be met, there is still a long way to go.”
The announcement follows the SWA High Level Meeting in Washington DC on Friday, where Australia was represented by the Director General AusAID, Peter Baxter.
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