European leaders need to focus on water problems at Johannesburg summit

August 14, 2002

Brussels, 13 August 2002

As parts of Europe suffers its worst floods in decades, European leaders heading for this month's Earth Summit in South Africa will be urged to help developing countries manage their scarce water resources.

Klaus Toepfer, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme, speaking at the World Water Week symposium in Stockholm during August, said governments had to move from declarations about improving access to water and sanitation to action and implementation. Mr Toepfer said water pollution, poor sanitation and water shortages would kill millions of people this year and leave millions more in bad health and trapped in poverty. 'Without adequate clean water, there can be no escape from poverty,' he said

Water is one of the five key themes United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has picked for the Johannesburg event taking place from 26 August to 4 September, which will be attended by 100 world leaders and 65,000 delegates. Sanitation is also expected to top the agenda.

The major events at the World Summit will be covered by a dedicated website provided by the British Council at the address given below.

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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