27 October 2003 Canada signed an agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) today committing just over $10 million for African water and sanitation efforts.
The donation has been earmarked for UN-HABITAT’s Water and Sanitation Trust Fund, which is designed to help African cities to promote investment in the water and sanitation sector, provide sanitation and hygiene education in schools, and demonstrate innovative approaches to providing affordable services for the urban poor, according to the UN agency.
At the signing ceremony in Nairobi, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka described the donation as “an important step towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals of halving the number of people without access to clean water and adequate sanitation by 2015.”
World leaders set the goal in 2000 at the Millennium Summit in New York.
In her statement, Canadian Minister for International Cooperation Susan Whelan said, “Unfortunately, in many countries, governance in the water sector is weak and water does not have a sufficiently high priority on the public agenda. We need to increase public awareness, including the awareness of governments, about the importance of safe water and sanitation services.”