26 Jul 2012

UN Rapporteur says water issue a Kiribati national priority

12:47 pm on 26 July 2012

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to water and sanitation has called on Kiribati to make safe water and sanitation a national priority.

Catarina de Albuquerque, who visited Tuvalu last week, says she was shocked by the child mortality rate in Kiribati, which is the highest in the Pacific.

Ms de Albuquerque says if Kiribati wants to reduce preventable deaths of children, then sanitation and hygiene must be urgently addressed.

She says a first step to improve the situation is to explicitly assign responsibilities for sanitation to a Government department and to provide it with the necessary human and financial resources.

Ms de Albuquerque says the current water supply situation is unsustainable, and urgent measures have to be adopted to make sure that all i-Kiribati have access to a sufficient quantity of water.

She is calling on the international community to continue to assist Kiribati in its climate change adaptation measures as well as in its planning for the very near future.