9 Aug 2010

Clean water still lacking in Pacific nations

12:20 pm on 9 August 2010

The head of Oxfam New Zealand says Pacific Island Forum leaders need to do more to improve access to clean water and basic sanitation in the region.

Barry Coates says a lot of people in the Pacific do not have access to basic sanitation, such as toilets, and many children are dying from waterborne diseases.

Pacific Island Forum leaders are making safe drinking water and basic sanitation services more of a priority over the next three years, and while Mr Coates notes the attention given to the issue, he says more leadership is needed.

Marc Overmars, from the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission, says the forum leaders' move is very encouraging as

political will at the highest level has been lacking in the past.

He says most of Pacific nations are not on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goal to halve the number of people without clean water by 2015.

Mr Overmars says more financial resources, capacity building and technology transfer is needed to scale up the efforts.