Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement to mark today’s World Water Day (22 March):
783 million people around the world have no access to clean drinking water. This is a shocking figure which hides a great deal of suffering, particularly for poor and disadvantaged population groups. It is still true that more children die of diarrhoeal disease caused by contaminated drinking water than of malaria, measles and AIDS put together. That has to change!
Thanks in part to Germany’s intensive commitment in this field, progress has been made on ensuring safe drinking water supplies. Just two years ago, we still estimated that 900 million people had no access to clean drinking water. So the trend is moving in the right direction, but there is still a lot to do!
The right to safe drinking water and sanitation is a focal point of German human rights policy. As a result of an initiative by Germany and Spain, the United Nations Human Rights Council recognized the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation some two years ago. Germany is one of the three biggest donors in the field of water and sanitation worldwide. The German Government provides about 400 million euros a year on average to support programmes and projects in this area.