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World Water Day: the EU helps more than 32 million people to gain access to safe drinking water

To celebrate World Water Day 2012, the European Commission releases the video "More than Water" which shows concrete results of the EU-ACP Water Facility to provide access to drinking water in the Himba villages in the north of Namibia.

The project in Namibia is only one of the 272 projects which have been supported by the ACP-EU Water Facility between 2004 and 2012. This is a mechanism established by the EU to co-finance water, hygiene, sanitation and water governance projects in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries. This facility is made possible from 700 millions from the European Commission and a 12 millions euro grant from the Spanish government.

People living in the Himbas village in the North of Namibia didn't have access to clean, safe drinking water but thanks to the ACP-EU Water Facility programme their conditions improved. Mrs. Jakurama Tjiposa from Umuangete village was one of the people benefiting from this project, she said: "before we didn't know why we got sick, we couldn't relate sickness to what we ate or drank. Now, we don't get sick as often as before and the children now get fewer diarrheas". The ACP-EU Water Facility has provided access to drinking water, improved sanitation and better hygiene practices for millions of people throughout the world.

The ACP-EU Water Facility is one of the first results of the European Union Water Initiative (EUWI). The initiative, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is an international policy partnership that has successfully helped to improve access to water across the world and to put water at the heart of development policies. An interactive map on the ACP-EU Water Facility shows a sample of projects funded by the facility to provide access to safe drinking water and improve sanitation and hygiene practices.

 Overall, the European Commission has already helped more than 32 million people to gain access to improved water supply and more than 9 million people to sanitation facilities since 2004. Building on the achievements of the EU Water Initiative and the EU-ACP water facility, the EU will continue to support international cooperation and to promote innovative approaches reinforcing the link between water and other sectors such as agriculture and energy.

The 10th anniversary of the European Water Initiative comes at the same time as the international community can celebrate that the Millennium Development Goal on sustainable access to drinking water has been achieved, five years before the deadline of 2015. However, the remaining Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) especially sanitation, remain off-track and the EU will intensify its efforts to achieve the goals on time.

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, shared the results of the European Water Initiative at the World Water Forum in Marseille on 15 March 2012. “Providing access to water and better managing this scarce resource helps us to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. I am pleased to see that, also thanks to strong EU support, we have managed to achieve one of the first MDGs. However, much work remains to be done as still more than 3000 children die every day because they drink dirty water. We will continue our efforts on the water-related MDGs, building on the achievements of the EU Water Initiative so far," he said.


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