NEW YORK, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WaterAid in America welcomes today's announcement by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah that USAID will join the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership, a global multi-stakeholder group that brings developing and donor countries together with civil society to tackle the water and sanitation crisis.
"We are thrilled that the U.S. government will officially join the partnership. WaterAid is one of the original members of this dedicated group working toward universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The decision to join the partnership is a strong indication of the U.S. government's commitment to the sector," said David Winder, CEO of WaterAid, a leading international development organization.
The lives of 2.5 million people around the world would be saved each year if every person had access to safe water and adequate sanitation, according to a new report released this week by WaterAid. The report, Saving Lives, highlights that if governments meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve the proportion of the world's population without sanitation by 2015, the lives of 400,000 children under age five will be saved worldwide – over 100,000 in Nigeria alone.
Winder said, "We all profess to care about the world's children. Governments could save more lives and help reduce poverty by meeting their international commitment to invest in sanitation and to fully achieve this MDG target. The need for action is overwhelming—1.4 million child deaths each year can be attributed to poor sanitation and lack of access to safe drinking water. Only the combined weight of our expertise will shrink these numbers to zero."
The U.S. government announcement that it will join the partnership is a critical step toward making these commitments real, in collaboration with civil society and other governments from around the world. In addition, broader participation in SWA will enhance efforts to build capacity and strengthen developing country governments and civil society, enabling them to save more lives.
The announcement was made as 70 ministers from governments around the world attended the SWA High Level Meeting on April 20, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The SWA meeting this week is part of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings and brings together governments, NGOs, the private sector and civil society. www.sanitationandwaterforall.org.