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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks, Testimony, and Releases from the Under Secretary > 2006 Remarks, Testimony, and Releases from the Under Secretary

Remarks at the 4th World Water Forum

Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
Mexico City, Mexico
March 6, 2006

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The United States is determined to help nations that are struggling with poverty. As President Bush has said, combating poverty is a "moral imperative." To address poverty and disease we must look at water. A girl in Gujarat, India, cannot learn if schools don’t have safe water and appropriate sanitation; a Maasai mother cannot earn money if she needs to spend six hours a day carrying water for her family. And the nations in the Nile basin cannot develop unless they work together to manage their own and shared water resources.

This is why the United States supports achieving the internationally agreed goals on water and sanitation. Access to safe water and adequate sanitation along with sound water management are key components to human health and dignity, economic growth, and regional stability. At the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, the United States launched the Water for the Poor Initiative. Through this program more than 24 million people have received improved access to drinking water, and more than 26 million people have received access to sanitation.

The United States has worked to catalyze action and improve donor coordination through a number of partnerships in areas including water and health, transboundary water and integrated water resources management. Financing is especially important. We have been working closely with others – like Japan - to develop innovative mechanisms for mobilizing private capital for water related infrastructure.

I am honored to head the U.S. delegation to the 4th World Water Forum. Mexico’s decision to focus the Forum on "local action" is exactly right – building capacity at the local level to empower individual action and entrepreneurship is key to addressing many of the existing water challenges facing the world today. Mexico has also included a number of innovative features that we think will help advance action on-the-ground:

  • the "Institute@WWF4" – a learning center where capacity building can take place;
  • partnership meetings – where groups can work together to plan out their activities and reach out to new partners; and
  • the launch of Water Action and Networking Database – WAND.

Our hope is that WAND will continue to grow after the Forum and provide a way in which knowledge generated at international events – like the Forum and Stockholm Water Week – can be made available to people throughout the world.

We congratulate Mexico on its efforts to make the 4th World Water Forum a landmark event. Working together, I believe we can produce real progress in ensuring sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. Thank you.

Released on March 6, 2006

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