Canada, Norway, The Netherlands, and Sweden have pledged to continue supporting UN-HABITAT’s work to redress urban water and sanitation problems around the world.
The pledge was made at the third meeting of the Advisory Board of UN-HABITAT’s Water and Sanitation Trust Fund in Nairobi on 15-16 February 2007. Participants included donors as well as partner institutions such as the African and Asian Development Banks.
Through the Canada Fund for Africa, 15 million Canadian dollars was allocated to the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund for the period 2003-2007. “The Canadian Government has agreed with UN-HABITAT to reprofile our current funding to continue to support the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund until March 31st 2008,” said Stephen Weaver, Head Development Cooperation, Canadian International Development Agency.
In a similar move, the Asian Development Bank announced an extension of its partnership with UN-HABITAT’s Water for Asian Cities programme. The partnership will be extended to 2011 with UN-HABITAT and Asian Development Bank committing $10 million in grant funds - twice the amount committed in 2003 when the partnership began. The partnership seeks to increase investments in safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for some of Asia’s poorest urban areas.
“The development community has been continuously calling for greater collaboration among agencies in order to achieve development more efficiently and effectively. You have such collaboration here between ADB and UN-HABITAT and in a sector that desperately needs it - urban sanitation,” said Bindu Lohani, Director General of the Regional and Sustainable Development Department.
The Deputy Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Ms Inga Bjork Klevy stressed the importance of working with partners to enable the organisation to achieve greater success and better results in the countries the Trust Fund is already working in. “The trust fund is an excellent example of a coordinated, harmonised way of working with partners and we should look for ways of replicating the process in other divisions within the organisation.”, she said as she reaffirmed UN-HABITAT’s commitment with respect to water and sanitation related Millennium Development Goals.
The meeting coincided with the first phase of an independent Mid-Term Review of the Trust Fund’s activities which will develop a forward-looking strategy. Among the successes noted was the launch of the 2nd Global Report on Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities and the strategic partnerships signed with Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank. The review team also noted with approval partnerships established with other UN-HABITAT divisions and sections.