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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Issued by the United Nations Department of Public Information
GOVERNMENT MINISTERS MEET TO DECIDE POLICIES NEEDED TO REACH GOALS AND TARGETS ON WATER, SANITATION AND SLUMS
Key issues for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development include financing, utility management, service charges, water efficiency, tenure security and low-cost housing development.
NEW YORK, NY, April 11, 2005 --/WORLD-WIRE/-- More than 75 Ministers with a broad range of portfolios including finance, trade, development, planning, environment, water, housing and health, will meet at the United Nations over the next two weeks to decide on policies and practical measures to accelerate progress towards achieving the internationally agreed goals and targets related to water, sanitation and human settlements.
These targets include halving by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, developing by 2005 integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans, and significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
The Commission on Sustainable Development's 13th session (CSD-13), to be held from 11 to 22 April 2005, will be its first policy-setting session since the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg in 2002. The meeting follows the CSD's Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) held from 28 February-4 March 2005 and the release in January of the Millennium Project Task Force reports which included recommendations to governments for action to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The CSD-13 provides the first opportunity for governments to decide what they believe are the most appropriate and effective options in the three thematic areas.
"This year's CSD aims to turn political commitments into action. The policy options that Governments are expected to agree on at CSD-13 will underpin our common endeavours in the coming years to meet the Millennium Development Goals and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation targets and commitments on water, sanitation and human settlements," stated H.E. Dr. John W. Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), Chairman of CSD-13.
CSD-13 will build on last year's session which reviewed progress and identified obstacles and constraints in achieving the international development goals and targets related to water, sanitation and human settlements contained in Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
"These three issues encapsulate the silent humanitarian crisis in the world today, where roughly four thousand children die each day of diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water, and where the living conditions in crowded slums are exacerbating public health issues such as communicable diseases," stated Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
Reports issued by the Secretary-General in advance of the meeting, together with the Chair's text from the CSD-13 Preparatory Meeting last month (all available at ww.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd13/docs.htm), set out the key policy options and practical measures that will be the focus for deliberations. These include:
Improving Housing, Services and Employment for the Urban Poor
19 April 1:15pm
A discussion on the Millennium Development Goals related to water, sanitation and human settlements led by Robert Orr, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning.
A panel on the impact of natural disasters: prevention and response will be led by Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization and Salvano Briceño, Director of the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
About 1000 people representing some 150 major groups' organizations have registered to attend the CSD-13. A wide array of stakeholders, called "major groups", have an opportunity to present their priorities (Document E/CN.17/2005/5). Examples of priorities expressed this year include:
The Commission on Sustainable Development is the United Nation's high-level forum responsible for ensuring follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and monitoring progress towards achieving internationally-agreed development goals.
For more information on CSD-13, including the full press kit and schedule of the session visit: www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd13/csd13.htm
CSD-13 will be webcast live at www.un.org/webcast
Media representatives without UN credentials who wish to attend CSD meetings should contact: Media Accreditation & Liaison Unit, UN Department of Public Information, Fax: +1-212-963 4642, Tel: +1-212-963-2318
For media queries regarding the CSD, please contact:
Renata Sivacolundhu, UN Department of Public Information
Tel: +1 212 963 2932 Fax: +1 212 963 1186
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