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World Bank partners with U.S. to take aim at water insecurity

Donna Barne's picture

Photo: Simone McCourtie, World Bank

In a World Water Day ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick signed an agreement to leverage World Bank and U.S. government agency expertise and technology to promote greater water security in an increasingly water-insecure world.

“The world’s water crisis is a health crisis, a farming crisis, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and, increasingly, a political crisis,” Clinton told an audience of non-governmental, civil society organizations and World Bank staff gathered to mark World Water Day at World Bank headquarters in Washington.

 The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), she said, will pave the way for closer collaboration between the U.S. government and the Bank to “drive high-impact change.”

The MOU will enable the Bank to work more easily with experts from 17 U.S. government agencies and departments, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA.

Some of that work is already going on. For example, a World Bank project is bringing NASA data and expertise to five countries in the Middle East, to help them better manage their water resources. Under the agreement, NASA will share its remote-sensing technology that enables such water resource management.

The MOU also seeks to foster “complementarity” in projects and programs and to mobilize local capital and public-private partnerships for water infrastructure and development projects. It will also promote common approaches to help countries adapt to climate change.

Nearly 900 million people drink and wash with unsafe water every day, and nearly 6,000 people, mostly children, die daily from preventable water-related diseases. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population--including people in developed countries--will live under water stress, Clinton said.

The World Bank Group is helping countries balance competing water demands for agriculture, energy, people and the environment. The Bank Group is the largest external source of financing for water management in developing countries, and last year, devoted $5.7 billion in financing to water initiatives, reaching more than 60 million people a year.

“We look forward to tapping the knowledge, technology and best practices you are sharing to help connect U.S. experts with developing countries,” said Zoellick.

Read World Bank President Robert Zoellick's full remarks.


Submitted by joshua williki on
I agree with you when you concluded that with so much knowlegde of the action needed to put food first we all need to play our part.More than ever before the stake holders should be more prudent in determining those that are quarlified for assistance in meeting their food need. You sited Burkina Faso and Malawi as two countries that have improve in their determination to provide not only for their consumption but to export.These countries and others in this category should be given all the support they need to do better.The policies of your group should be stringent in the area of what quarlify a country to access your support when previous assistance do not yeild expected result.Most funds do not get to those who realy need it because of currupt govt. officials through whom these funds are disburse.Thank you for being who you are at least it gives some of us the courage to hope that all is not lost at home

Submitted by Gabriel Agiro Okot on
Very humane, we allocate resources for agriculture development in rural areas of Africa yearly, but we are not honest to this tribute which would otherwise facilitate our communities to having enough food to eat each day. Agriculture development needs a holistic approach through out the chain begining from appropriate inputs to end user (consumer). Production enhancement is key to realising enough food as well as post havest handling principles and practices. It should be looked that marketable bulking and value addition triggers production and so resources put for agriculture production should be spread to aspects and facilities (infrastuctural and social structures) that support production. Policy makers ought to get serious with the development of applicable policies. The greed that is looming implementation of development programs by poltical leaders splits the eyed resource envelope. Training citizens on professionalism needs to get heart followed by forgotten applied ethics. Because we do not observe the work ethics of the profession in question, is the reason why we never mind whether communities get what is intended for them or not. We must get focused to being servants of our communities not their milkers.

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