Zambia to miss target on water & sanitation by 2015

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Dimitria Lubinga collecting water from an unsafe open well that is 20 minutes walk from her house, Habeenzu village, Zambia
Dimitria Lubinga collecting water from an unsafe open well that is 20 minutes walk from her house, Habeenzu village, Zambia

About one million people in Zambia who should have received clean water by 2015 will miss out, and another 4.4 million will go without sanitation, because of major investment shortfalls for these services, according to the international development NGO WaterAid.

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A new report from the organisation, titled ‘From Promises to Reality: the urgent need for Southern African leaders to deliver on their water, sanitation and hygience commitments’ highlights a US$313 million per year financing gap in spending that is needed to bring Zambia back on-track to meet crucial poverty reduction commitments.

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The report also calls on the Zambian Government to draw more revenue from the country’s natural resource wealth, and on donors to improve their targeting of aid to help meet this gap.

Zambia is one of thirteen out of fifteen southern African countries that will, at current rates of progress, miss either their 2015 Millennium Development Goal targets on safe water or sanitation or both, which are to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to these essential services from 1990 levels.

7.8 million people in Zambia are now without access to sanitation while over 4.8 million go without clean drinking water(4).

Around 5,000 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhoea in Zambia, because of a lack of access to clean, safe water and sanitation(5).

Fatoumata Haidara, the Country Representative of WaterAid Zambia stated that the Zambian Government must meet their past promises on water and sanitation and, together with donors, invest at the levels needed to put an end to the crisis that causes thousands of children%u2019s lives to be prematurely and needlessly extinguished.

The report calls for the Zambian Government to meet their 2008 African Union commitment to spend at least 0.5% of their GDP on sanitation and hygiene which it currently has not met as well as establish clear budget lines on sanitation and water in their national budgets.

This report comes ahead of a crucial meeting in Washington DC next month that will bring together ministers and officials from donor and developing countries, as well as representatives of the World Bank, UN, and NGOs such as WaterAid.

They will discuss how to meet current Millennium Development Goal targets on water and sanitation, as well as how to ensure that countries can achieve universal access to these essential services and human rights.

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