Donor aversion to ‘unsexy’ water projects threatens development goal

June 27, 2011  |   General news,Sanitation,Water   |

Donor aversion to ‘unsexy’ water projects threatens development goal

“More than 1 billion people will not get the basic sanitation and the clean water promised as such projects shrink sharply as a proportion of global aid budgets.

A key development goal to halve the number of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015 will be missed by a long way because donor countries have diverted aid money away from “unsexy” water projects, according to the World Bank and a report from the charity WaterAid.

Financial aid to provide people in developing countries with access to clean water and decent sanitation has been shrinking sharply as a proportion of global aid budgets, the new research has shown, with the result that more than 1 billion people will not get the assistance they were promised by rich countries under the millennium development goals.

The key development goal on sanitation is likely to be missed by a wide margin, as donors restrict their aid to “sexier” projects such as schools and hospitals – even though the benefits of those projects are much diminished if their recipients have no clean water or toilets.

“When you think that 2% of GDP is the difference between growth and recession, we are having the equivalent of three recessions every year in these places. But no one is taking any notice,” said Julia Bucknall, the World Bank’s water chief. “It’s astounding.”

She predicted that the millennium development goal target on sanitation – to halve by 2015 the number of people without access to basic sanitary facilities – would be missed by a long way. If the target were reached, of the 2.6 billion people without access to sanitation today, at least 1.7 billion would be equipped with decent facilities. But on current trends, only about 700 million will gain such access in the time frame.

“It shows how far water and sanitation have slipped down the list of donor priorities,” said John Garrett, senior policy analyst at the charity WaterAid, which compiled the research using information from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Yet the global sanitation crisis is so massive – this is totally insufficient to tackle the problem.”…”

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source: www.guardian.co.uk