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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 00:12 GMT 01:12 UK
Countries 'missing water targets'
By David Bamford
BBC News

Men collecting water
Too little effort is spent developing water supplies, the report says
International agencies have warned that many governments are failing in their commitment to help improve access to drinking water.

A global campaign launched two years ago brought pledges to halve the number of people who do not have access to clean water by 2015.

But the six agencies, including Water Aid, Green Cross International and Oxfam, say the global situation is getting worse rather than better.

Officials are set to review progress.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 resulted in a global pledge to halve within 13 years the number of people lacking access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Rich and poor criticised

As ministers gather in New York to attend the first follow-up meeting since that summit, six international agencies say the latest data indicates the effort is failing badly.

They say most of the world's 22 main industrial countries did not increase as promised their financial provisions for improving global water supplies; the result is that overall aid has declined.

And the aid that is provided, the report warns, is often done so on political grounds rather than based on need.

The US, for instance, gives most of its water development aid to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories and very little to Africa.

But equally the report criticises poor countries like Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Indonesia and Guinea for, it says, giving little or no priority at all to water supply development.

Countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and China face the prospect of acute water shortages by 2025.


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