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Clean water funds drop while Euro Ministers block money for projects - Baker

April 20, 2004 5:05 PM

Government Department for International DevelopmentA report released today by a group of leading NGOs, including WWF and Oxfam, slams World Governments for failing to take the world's water crisis seriously. The UK is way behind its UN water targets with less than 2% of its aid budget dedicated to providing clean water in the poorest countries.

Last month the Liberal Democrats revealed that a €1 billion fund from the European Commission to provide fresh water and sanitation to millions of people in the Developing World was being blocked by ministers on the General Affairs Council.

That money has since been released, but Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, has written to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, to ask why the vital funding was delayed and what position the UK Government took on the release of the funds.

Mr Baker said:

"Life saving water projects cannot go ahead without developed countries delivering what they have promised. Today's report should send a sharp message to America and Europe that more must be done.

"It is an absolute disgrace the Treasury has been earning interest on money that was promised to the Developing World.

"Jack Straw must now set out and explain the UK Government's position, and take action to ensure the 'Water for Life' project moves forward."