The Norwegian government has signed an agreement with UN-HABITAT committing 10.24 million Norwegian Kroner (US $ 1.3. million) to the agency's Water and Sanitation Trust Fund.
The Norwegian Ambassador Mr. Kjell Harald Dalen, Permanent representative of Norway to UN-HABITAT, signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Norway. Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive director of UN-HABITAT, thanked Norway for its contribution observing that the contribution to Water and Sanitation Trust Fund will help to leverage further investments in the provision of water and sanitation for the poorest of the poor, and to fund projects to improve the governance of water and sanitation in urban areas.
"Norway was the first country to provide funds to this trust fund in May this year and the additional contribution covered by the agreement signed to day comes not only as a great support, but also as encouragement for other donors," said Mrs. Tibaijuka.
The number of urban dwellers not receiving safe water had reached an all time high of 118 million by 2000 and continues to rise, an increase of 62 million over the comparable figure in 1990. The situation with sanitation is much worse, with more than three times as many people denied even minimal sanitation facilities.
The Water and Sanitation Trust Fund was launched on World Habitat Day 2002 and it is dedicated to the Millennium Development Goal target of halving, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation or clean water.
Mr. Kjell Harald Dalen said that Norway was committed to supporting UN-HABITAT's work in this sector and stressed the importance of water and sanitation to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.