Thursday, September 28, 2006

Asian 'Water Conference' Underway

ADB Conference Aiming to Boost Investment to Meet Asia's Water Challenges

27th September


On 26th September, a Water Financing Program Conference opened at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) headquarters in Manila, Philippines. The goal of this conference is to improve access of drinking water and basic toilet facilities to the citizens of ADB member states. It is estimated that in 2002 (the latest year reliable data is available) approximately 700 million people in the Asia-Pacific region did not have access to safe drinking water in the Asian region. This conference concerns a prerequisite to economic growth and development – as ADB President put it “Water is essential to sustain life, to provide food, to create the conditions for higher levels of health, education and income.”

The conference brought together delegates from a number of emerging and developing countries including China, India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam. In addition, many experts on urban and rural water issues attended the conference. In an effort to encourage member states the ADB pledged to double its investments in water through its Water Financing Program. The participants discussed various ways to improve water facilities. Some of the issues discussed were improving governance structures and increasing private investment in this area.


1. How can we encourage increased private investment in water facilities or is water a public good that must be provided only by the government?

2. Shouldn’t the IMF and WB be playing a bigger role in ensuring universal access to safe water facilities? Should this issue not be at the forefront of the agenda of all multilateral organizations?

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