Unequal Water Access in Europe in The Spotlight

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A United Nations report today underlined the need to address unequal water access in Europe.

The report also stresses that certain populations such as rural communities and marginalized groups are still not getting this vital resource.

The report which was launched today was produced by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The report provides guidance on how to address water access disparities, and showcases successful policies that have been implemented by governments, water operators and civil society.

“No one left behind: Good practices to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation” notes that access to improved water and sanitation solutions in rural areas in the pan-European region is 10 per cent lower than for urban area.

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A mother gives her child a bowl of clean water in Charsarda District, in Pakistan’s northwestern KhyberPakhtunkhwa Province, an area severely affected by monsoon floods. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is providing safe drinking water to flood victims in accessible areas of the province. UN Photo/UNICEF/ZAK

The report suggests putting investment programmes in place to help reduce this gap is crucial.

In addition, the report underscores that social inclusion policies are vital to be able to provide water access to marginalized and vulnerable groups, who are often unable to get access to safe drinking water.

Increasing water prices are also singled out as a key factor for unequal water access in EU countries.

Earlier this week, United Nations reported that the goal of reducing by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water has been achieved.

The achievement is well ahead of the 2015 deadline for reaching the globally agreed development targets aimed at eliminating world’s extreme poverty, hunger and preventable diseases.

However, the target for sanitation has not been met, and nearly one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water.

A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) confirms that in many parts of Europe water use is unsustainable. The EEA report ‘Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought’ highlights that while southern Europe continues to experience the greatest water scarcity problems, water stress is growing in parts of the north too.

UN says an annual investment of $198 billion, or 0.16 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), in the water sector could reduce water scarcity and halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in less than four years.

In 2010, safe drinking water and sanitation were declared human rights by the United Nations General Assembly.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.