Sunday 31 December 2000

A total of 2.4 billion people across the world do not have any access to proper sanitation facilities and at least 1.1 billion people do not have regular water supply. These were the two major findings of the Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 , a report jointly brought out by the World Health Organisation and the United Nation's Children's Fund.

The report also stated that every year four billion cases of diarrhoea are reported from various parts of the world, with 2.2 million deaths mostly among children under the age of five. The assessment was released after a meeting of more than 500 experts in Brazil to discuss the state of world's water supply and sanitation services.

To enhance regional cooperation and harmonise policies for land and water management, a meeting was recently organised in Accra, Ghana, by the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Delegates adopted a common programme to curb various environmental problems. Water resource pollution and increasing water scarcity, land degradation and desertification, and frequent droughts were some of the environmental problem for which solutions were sought. Six Thematic Programme Networks were also launched. These networks will act as operational tools to strengthen regional cooperation on specific programme areas.

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