Tuesday, 22 March 2011

World Water Day

Today Tearfund and WaterAid, under the coalition of charities End Water Poverty, organised an event for World Water Day outside the Houses of Parliament. Members of Parliament from all the main parties came along to show their support and help raise awareness of the plight of millions across the world who lack access to clean water and sanitation. MPs walked a 100m course while talking with supporters of both charities about the need for more action on water and sanitation. It was great to see both Andrew Mitchell (Secretary of State for International Development) and Harriet Harman (Shadow Secretary of State for International Development) amongst those taking part.

Before the event Fiona Bruce MP talked to us about the need for people across the UK to contact their MP and urge them to speak up on this issue. At a debate on water not too long ago, only a handful of MPs turned up to discuss the issue. Why not write to your local MP (find them here), or make an appointment to visit them at their surgeries, and make sure they are aware of the shocking truth that 4000 children die each day due to lack of clean water and poor sanitation. MPs can get information by contacting either Tearfund or WaterAid, and can sign Early Day Motion 1632, stating:

"That this House welcomes World Water Day taking place on 22 March; considers access to clean water and sanitation vital for a healthy life; acknowledges that for every 1 invested in water and sanitation there is an economic return of 8; recognises that one in three people globally still lack access to basic sanitation and one in eight people are without access to safe drinking water; notes the severe negative impact this has on human health, education and livelihoods; further notes that diarrhoea is the biggest killer of children under five years in Africa, and that in India over 600 million people defecate in the open; recognises that there is a need for urgent and substantial progress against the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goal targets; and urges the Government to increase significantly its ambition for the sector commensurate to the scale of the global crisis, and play an essential leadership role in Sanitation and Water for All by encouraging further donor countries to sign up."

Currently there are only a small handful of MPs, out of 650, who have signed EDM1632. It would be great to see a huge surge of interest in this debate and many more MPs become passionate advocates for clean water and good sanitation in developing countries.

25th March 2011, Editors Note: Currently only 32 MPs have signed the Early Day Motion, so please do continue to lobby your MP to sign this important statement.