UN-HABITAT signs new agreement at World Water Forum
MARCH 19, 2003 - UN-HABITAT signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday aimed at forging a new Water for Asian Cities partnership.
UN Under Secretary-General, Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT and ADB President Tadao Chino signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the new programme in Osaka. The Japanese city this week is hosting the 3rd World Water Forum, the largest ever meeting to discuss and seek solutions to the global water crisis.
The program envisages a pipeline of US $10 million in grants
from ADB and UN-HABITAT for the first two phases, and US $500 million
in ADB loans for water and sanitation projects in cities across Asia over
the next five years. Additional funding for Water for Asian Cities has
also been made available to UN-HABITAT by The Netherlands.
"In years to come, I believe that today's launch of the Water for Asian Cities programme with UN-HABITAT represents a milestone in meeting the Millennium Development Goals for clean water and sanitation," Mr. Chino said. "It is only through partnerships such as these - a pooling of resources and expertise to help Asia's cities meet the needs of their populations - that these goals can be achieved."
To meet the goals for water and sanitation in Asia, it is estimated that an additional 675 million people in Asian cities need access to adequate sanitation, and 619 million need access to safe water.
"The Water for Asian Cities Programme will draw upon lessons learned in our successful Water for African Cities programme and help ensure that pro-poor, sustainable water policies are implemented," said Mrs. Tibaijuka. "We believe that this will be a highly effective partnership matching the financing, sectoral, and regional expertise of ADB with UN-HABITAT's on-the-ground experience in managing water in Asia's cities."
The programme is divided into three phases. The first is capacity building to devise a framework starting with pilot projects and strengthening governance at all levels. It will also promote water quality, sanitation, and hygiene education and provide benchmarks to monitor progress. The next stage involves identifying and developing investment projects, which must not only meet the needs and aspirations of the consumers but also be technically, economically, and financially viable. The third will see to allocating the financial resources, the provision of loans to participating countries, physical implementation of projects, and continuation of policy reforms, capacity building, and institutional strengthening.
ADB will designate its Regional and Sustainable Development
Department as a focal point for the programme and UN-HABITAT will nominate
a Programme Coordinator, under the direction of its Water, Sanitation
and Infrastructure Branch, to be based in the region.
The programme will also establish an Asian Ministerial Forum for Water and Sanitation to meet annually and provide policy insight and monitor progress. A Donor Support Group will ensure coordinated support, while a Multi-Stakeholders Forum will be responsible for the participatory programme planning, review, and sharing of experiences of implementation at local, national, and regional levels.
The participating countries will be identified after consultations
between ADB, UN-HABITAT, governments and city authorities. Efforts will
be made to include at least one country from each of East and Central
Asia, the Mekong, Pacific, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
The World Water Forum opened on Monday with more than 10,000 participants. For full details of opening ceremonies and remarks, see our media center page. See also Water for Asian Cities.