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ADB: 2.1b people in Asia-Pacific lack water supply, sanitation

MANILA - Despite achievements in Asia and the Pacific region over the last few decades, 1.5 billion people living in rural areas and 600 million in urban areas still lack adequate water supply and sanitation, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report released on Friday.

Of the 49 ADB regional members, the Manila-based bank said that 27 members face "serious water constraints on economic development," and 18 are yet "to sufficiently protect their inhabitants against water-related disasters".

According to the Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) 2020 report, the economies in Asia and the Pacific must put water security at the top of their agenda to recover from the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to climate change.

In the report, the ADB set out the status in the region of water security, which measures the availability of safe and affordable water supply, sanitation for all, improved livelihoods, and healthy ecosystems, with reduced water-related diseases and floods.

It stressed the need to put water at the center of sustainable rural development by promoting water-effective irrigation agriculture, community-based water and sanitation services, and locally resilient disaster risk reduction.

It further stressed the need to achieve urban water security by investing in water, sanitation, and disaster risk reduction infrastructure services not only in cities but also in slums and peripheral areas.

In the report, the ADB called on the region to "provide a healthy environment by drastically reducing pollution, stimulating a circular economy, increasing land protection, and embracing nature-based approaches".

It stressed the importance of increasing the resilience of water systems to avoid water-related disasters.

To improve the region's water security, ADB said it has programmed more than US$6 billion in financial and technical assistance between 2020 and 2022 to support safe water supply, sanitation, and wastewater measures.

The ADB said it has also programmed more than US$2 billion for flood risk management in the same period, together with tailored knowledge services that promote innovation and forge partnerships.  

Published : December 19, 2020

By : China Daily/ANN