6 Aug 2010

Pacific leaders make safe drinking water and basic sanitation a priority

1:47 pm on 6 August 2010

Pacific Island Forum leaders are making safe drinking water and basic sanitation services more of a priority over the next three years.

Marc Overmars, from the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission says political will at the highest level has been lacking in the past, so the move is very encouraging.

Mr Overmars says most of the Pacific Islands are not on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goal to halve the number of people without clean water by 2015 and a lot needs to be done.

"There's a need for additional financial resources, additional capacity building and additional technology transfer, to actually scale up the efforts to increase the access to water and sanitation in the region. And of course should not only include infrastructure improvements but also include improvement in the governance of water."

Last week the United Nations voted to support access to clean water and sanitation as a fundamental human right and Marc Overmars says stronger legal frameworks will be needed to make this happen.