Keynote speakers at the United Nations 2011 World Water Day convention warned this week that greater efforts had to be made to provide better water and sanitation for cities, and especially for the urban poor.
|His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange (Netherlands) |
"Let's make World Water Day here in Cape Town a wake-up call to the world," said His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange (Netherlands).
The meeting in Cape Town, drew 1,000 delegates from around the world, to discuss this year's theme, Water and Urbanization.
Delegates were told that the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation are among those on which we lag the most, and that as this problem is most evident in cities, this year's observance of World Water Day focuses on "Water for Cities: Responding to the urban challenge". Urbanization brings opportunities for more efficient water management and improved access to drinking water and sanitation.
Furthermore, half of the world's population now lives in cities, and in little over from a generation from now, that figure is expected to reach two-thirds.
As Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT put it: "In the slums of Nairobi, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the bustees of Kolkata, and even right here in Cape Town's townships, the provision of safe water and basic sanitation to the urban poor is a critical challenge facing the world today."
To mark the occasion, South Africa's best known landmark, Table Mountain, was floodlit in blue. For further details, click here.