The Prince of Orange, in his capacity as Chair of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation said: "The urban water challenge must be recognised for what it really is – a crisis of governance, weak policies and poor management, rather than a scarcity crisis. We need to sure up water security against the added problems of pollution, and climate change. We need innovative ideas and good practices to implement. This conference has a duty to urge a reversal of the decline in per capita investment in water and sanitation for cities. It has a duty also to alert decision makers at every level to this water and sanitation crisis".
To help alleviate this crisis, in 2010, approximately USD 464 million was leveraged towards UN-HABITAT's Water and Sanitation Trust Fund activities . This enabled the agency to provide water, sanitation and solid waste services to nearly 1 million people around the world.
In Africa, UN-HABITAT's Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative serving 15 towns in five countries is been funded by the African Development Bank with a grant of USD 110 million and is aimed at benefiting 800,000 people. In 2010 alone, the trust fund Programme in Asia (Mekong and Water for Asian Cities in Nepal and India) served an estimated 267,400 persons.
UN-HABITAT is also host to the secretariat as well as leading in the development of Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance which is committed to helping water operators help one another improve their collective capacity to provide access to water and sanitation services for all. The H2.0 initiative with funding from Google.org for USD 1.8 million, aims to improve the effectiveness of water and sanitation investments and decision-making.
UN-Water is pushing for stronger political commitment at the national and the local level to put safe drinking water and basic sanitation at the very top of the poverty eradication and the sustainable development agendas.