Apr 07, 2014

Government Ministers to Map Future of Water, Sanitation Spending

Ministers of Finance will address water and sanitation at the Spring World Bank Meeting

Spring World Bank Meeting Ministers of Finance Water Sanitation Spending

On Friday, April 11, ministers of finance from around the world will gather at the World Bank Group IFC Auditorium in Washington, D.C., for the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting, held in conjunction with the 2014 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group. For every $1 invested water and sanitation, there is a $5 return in terms of work and school hours and health care costs saved. There are almost as many cell phones as people in the world today, yet 2.5 billion people still do not have access to safe toilets, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, India/South Asia and China. 

Almost 600,000 children under the age of five died from diarrheal diseases, or about 1,600 per day, in 2012. Three-quarters of a billion people do not have a source of improved drinking water and billions more use unsafe water. These, along with poor sanitation and hygiene, contribute to malnutrition and stunting in 165 million children globally. Top economists agree that the return on investment in water and sanitation is five to one. Two years ago, 48 countries made 415 commitments toward expanding access to safe water and sanitation. This year, countries will assess their progress and make new efforts to continue that momentum. The meeting will address water and sanitation and how to make it work.

Attendees will include Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general; Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group; H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, chairman, Sanitation and Water for All Partnership; Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF; Judi Wakhungu, cabinet secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Republic of Kenya; Dr. Shanta Devarajan, chief economist, World Bank; Sufian Ahmed, minister of finance, Ethiopia; Jan Eliasson, UN deputy secretary-general; ministers of finance, development, water, health and sanitation from 50 countries;  and international and national nongovernmental and development organizations.