World Water Day


Today – 22nd March – is World Water Day. The day provides the opportunity to highlight the global water crisis and the wider impact it has on education, health, gender equality and peace.

During my recent visit to Ethiopia with the International Development Committee I was reminded why clean water and sanitation need to be at the heart of development. They are not just essential needs – they also help prevent disease, improve food production and make it easier for girls to go to school.

Acknowledging World Water Day this year is more important than ever. As well as being its 20th anniversary, 2013 has been designated as the UN International Year of Water Cooperation.

While progress has been made, partly thanks to UK aid, tackling poor quality water and sanitation in developing countries remains a vital issue. 783 million people are still without access to safe drinking water.

This year David Cameron is co-Chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda. This means the UK has a tremendous opportunity to push for more focus to be given to water, sanitation and hygiene.

To mark World Water Day, I have joined WaterAid’s campaign to raise awareness and to call on the Prime Minister to include a target to achieve universal access to safe water by 2030. Through international cooperation I believe it is possible that we can ensure that everyone everywhere can get access to clean, safe water.

You can read more about my work on the International Development Committee online here.

You can learn more about World Water Day or make a donation to help end water poverty online here.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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