UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka on Tuesday signed an agreement with Coca-Cola India announcing that they will collaborate to improve community access to water and sanitation in India and Nepal.
At the signing ceremony which took place during the twenty-first Session of the Governing Council in Nairobi, Mrs. Tibaijuka said, “clean water and sanitation can make or break human development. Our partnership with Coca-Cola, India, is an innovative example of how public-private-community partnerships can help meet the challenge of the Millennium Development Goals, especially those committed to halving the number of people not having access to clean water and adequate sanitation by the year 2015.”
Mr. Deepak Jolly, Vice President for Coca-Cola, India said, “Water is fundamental to all communities and we understand that businesses thrive only amidst vibrant and sustainable societies. Water management remains a priority and we are delighted to enter into this partnership with UN-HABITAT.”
The collaboration between Coca-Cola and UN-HABITAT includes setting up demonstration projects to increase water supply through rainwater harvesting and other techniques to store and conserve water in Madhya Pradesh, India and the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation for urban poor in West Bengal targeting 150 schools. Additionally, Coca-Cola has committed itself to working on improving water management and sanitation in selected urban slums and in rural areas in Nepal.
The signing ceremony took place during a press conference dedicated to show-casing the newly launched UN-HABITAT initiative, Business Partnerships for Sustainable Development. Kenyan businessman Chris Kirubi appealed to UN-HABITAT to sensitize governments about the need to integrate the private sector into housing for the poor. He went on to emphasise that the only way to provide adequate housing for slum dwellers was for the UN to help develop innovative business and financial models.