Three launches at IWA's big gathering

The IWA is celebrating its highest international attendance at the 4th World Water Congress held in Marrakech, Morocco, on 18-25 September 2004. Around 2500 people were drawn from over 100 countries with the highest representations coming from Europe and Asia.

If a major theme can be drawn from the presentation of over 900 papers, 30 workshops and 400 posters, then it must be the international water community's response and action towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). This was reflected in the opening address given by John Briscoe of the World Bank (see below), who stressed the importance of infrastructure investment in achieving the targets.

Jamie Bartram of the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that, while the goal to halve the world population without access to safe drinking water by 2015 is on target (outside sub-Saharan Africa), progress towards sanitation coverage lags well behind.

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), an international initiative between public, private and NGO sectors, was launched at the congress. Ulrike Ebert of RWE Thames, said WSUP intended to build local capacity from the bottom up, with the stated aim of providing 285,000 of the most disadvantaged people with safe water and 400,000 with basic sanitation services. Also, launched was the Dry Area Forum, convened by Andrew Speers from Australia, to initiate and recognise research to help citizens of dry areas to achieve proper sustainability of water systems.

Several hundred delegates attended the release of WHO's updated Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) and the Bonn Charter in Marrakech


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