Press Notice 05, Session 2006-07

Water and Sanitation

Second evidence session

Tuesday 5 December 2006, Committee Room 16

At 10.30: DFID officials

€ Mark Lowcock, Director General for Policy and International

€ Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Head, Sustainable Development Group, Policy and Research Division

€ Greg Briffa, Team Leader, Water, Energy and Transport, Sustainable Development Group

€ Ian Curtis, Senior Adviser on Growth, Africa Policy Department

At 11.30:

€ Antonio Garcia Fragio, DG Development, European Commission

€ Witness from the African Development Bank (name to be confirmed)

€ Stephen Turner, Director, Public Policy and Education, WaterAid.


Evidence of a global water crisis is widespread. Currently, more than 2 billion people have no access to sanitation and one billion are without access to clean water. The UN believes that over the next 2 decades the average supply of water per person worldwide will drop by a third. The increasing scarcity of water will hit poor people the hardest, with farmers, slum dwellers and women and children amongst the most vulnerable groups. Access to clean water and sanitation are basic human requirements, and are crucial to many aspects of poverty reduction, including improved health and sustainable economic and social development.

The International Development Committee has begun an inquiry into Water and Sanitation. The main purpose of the inquiry will be to examine how donors - notably the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) - can support progress towards Millennium Development Goal 7, which aims to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation by 2015, and support progress towards other MDGs through achieving outcomes in water and sanitation.

In 2005, DFID announced a doubling of its aid to Africa for water. The 2006 DFID White Paper has doubled this figure again to £200 million by 2011. The White Paper pledges support for the delivery of water and sanitation services and the sustainable and equitable management of water resources. The inquiry will examine how DFID is fulfilling these commitments, as well as assessing multilateral efforts to secure progress on water and sanitation. The Committee will also look at progress by other stakeholders on water and sanitation.

The session on 5 December will focus on financing and aid instruments. Key issues under this theme include:

€ Ensuring international financing and aid instruments for water and sanitation are fit for purpose

€ The EU Water Initiative and international funding mechanisms

€ The role of aid in supporting the private sector's involvement in water and sanitation

€ DFID's prioritisation of water and sanitation within its overall programme, including its Public Service Agreement and its individual country assistance plans


Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Barrett MP (Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Quentin Davies MP (Con), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh (Lab).

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