‘By 2015, we wanted to halve the number of people without access to clean drinking water – which we’ve already achieved. We’ve shown we can beat our own targets. So let’s get that number down to zero.’ This was the message from Lilianne Ploumen (Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) at the end of World Water Day, held in The Hague on Friday 22 March 2013. The Netherlands strongly advocates an ambitious international water agenda for the years after 2015, bringing water security to all.
‘Everyone in the world has a right to protection against flooding and the consequences of extreme drought,’ said Ms Ploumen. ‘Everyone has a right to hygiene, clean toilets, and safe and sustainable drinking water. The world needs better water management, extending across country borders, rivers and water basins.’
By championing clean water, the Netherlands is embracing important recommendations drawn up by senior representatives of the United Nations, NGOs, governments and the private sector. During the discussions, the Prince of Orange took part in a panel and gave a speech.
Ms Ploumen handed the recommendations to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and co-chair of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Ms Ploumen stressed the need for a new, integrated, sustainable approach, involving cooperation among all parties: public authorities, companies, NGOs, research institutes, and communities at home and abroad. ‘Everyone has to accept their responsibilities. Only then can we use water to improve health, fight poverty, and develop economies. In the Netherlands, I am already working on this with my fellow ministers Melanie Schultz van Haegen and Henk Kamp. As a land of water, the Netherlands has a lot of know-how and expertise for solving such problems.’
In her speech, Ms Ploumen thanked the Prince of Orange for his work as chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Sanitation (UNSGAB). She mentioned his role in international water management, his contribution to the worldwide water agenda, and his successful campaign for the right to water and sanitation.
This year, the Netherlands hosted UN World Water Day. Thursday’s proceedings marked the conclusion of the worldwide consultations on the future of water, hosted by Melanie Schultz van Haegen (Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment). The day’s proceedings were opened by HRH the Prince of Orange.
Source: Government of The Netherlands (http://www.government.nl/news/2013/03/23/the-netherlands-wants-water-security-for-all.html)