Australian Government

190m people in Asia Pacific without basic sanitation, says Australia

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Source: Australian Government

The Australian Government has reaffirmed its commitment to improving sanitation services in the Asia-Pacific region. Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan, said improving access to clean water and sanitation services is crucial to raising the health and living standards of people in the Asia Pacific. 'About 190 million people in our region do not have access to basic sanitation services,' Mr McMullan said. 'In South East Asia and the Pacific alone, approximately 75,000 children will die this year from diarrhoea.'

'World Health Day (7 April) is an important reminder that much remains to be done in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015,' said Mr McMullan.

'We are committed to helping our neighbours, and in line with other international organisations, including the development banks and UN agencies we intend to fulfil our election commitment to substantially increase aid for water and sanitation in the next three years.'

Mr McMullan will launch the book 'Sharing Experiences: Sustainable Sanitation in South East Asia and the Pacific' in Melbourne tomorrow.

The book, compiled by WaterAid Australia and International WaterCentre, aims to promote the practical application of low-cost sustainable sanitation in the region. It captures the experiences and lessons learnt in developing sanitation services, and includes case studies of sanitation projects throughout Asia and the Pacific, with examples of what did and didn't work.

Australia currently funds water and sanitation projects in a number of countries in the Asia Pacific. These include a $28 million Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program in East Timor; $120 million towards a range of water and sanitation activities in Vietnam; and a $20 million program in Indonesia to improve governance, water supply and sanitation for the poor.

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