Press Releases

    23 March 2004

    Secretary-General Names Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation

    NEW YORK, 22 March (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has used this year’s observance of World Water Day to announce the establishment of an Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, to galvanize global action on these issues, which are central to the world’s hopes of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.

    Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan has agreed to serve as Chairman of the Board, which will also include a wide range of eminent persons, technical experts, and other individuals with proven experience in inspiring people, moving the machinery of government, and working with the media, the private sector and civil society (see names below).

    The Secretary-General has asked the Board to use the unique expertise of its members to raise awareness of water and sanitation issues, to help mobilize funds for water and sanitation projects, and to encourage new partnerships.

    Members of Board

    The members of the Board are as follows; additional members will be announced shortly:

    -- H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abou Zeid, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources of the Arab Republic of Egypt;

    -- Mr. Michel Camdessus, Special Representative of the President of the Republic of France for Africa;

    -- H.E. Ms. Juanita Castaño, former Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia;

    -- Ms. Uschi Eid, Parliamentary Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany;

    -- H.E. Mr. Angel Gurria, Former Minister of Finance of Mexico;

    -- H.E. Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, former Prime Minister of Japan;

    -- H.E. Mr. Ronnie Kasrils, Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry Department of Water Affairs and Forestry of South Africa;

    -- Ms. Olivia la O’ Castillo, President, Philippine Pollution Prevention Round Table;

    -- Mr. Eric Odada, Director, Department of Geology, University of Nairobi;

    -- Mr. Gérard Payen, Senior Executive-Vice-President, Suez;

    -- Ms. Judith Rees, Deputy Director, London School of Economics and Political Science;

    -- Ms. Christine Todd Whitman, former Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency of the United States; and

    -- Mr. Peter Woicke, Executive Vice-President, International Finance Corporation, Washington, D.C.


    At the Millennium Summit in 2000, heads of State pledged to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach, or to afford, safe drinking water.  They also pledged to stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources by developing water management strategies that promote equitable access and adequate supplies.

    A similar goal -- to halve, also by 2015, the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation -- was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.  The sanitation target placed access to sanitation at the centre of the poverty-eradication commitments.

    World leaders have also agreed to develop, by 2005, integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans.

    An estimated 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and   2.4 billion people are without basic sanitation.  This means that meeting the Millennium Development Goal for water will require 270,000 new connections per day, and more than twice as many to meet the goal for sanitation.  As the Secretary-General says in his message for World Water Day, while the international response to the world water predicament contains much admirable effort, for the most part it has been inadequate, leaving an “urgent need to go beyond business as usual”.

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