HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc111-2W
Mr. Donaldson

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the UK Government are taking to ensure that the agreement on sustainable development reached at the World Summit is fully implemented in respect of the halving by 2015 of the number of people without access to an adequate water supply and proper sanitation. [155491]

Hilary Benn

The key commitments on water and sanitation made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) werea re-affirmation of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve, by the yea' 2015, the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water; halving by the year 2015 the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation; and an agreement to develop integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans by 2005.

In May 2003, a Sustainable Development Task Force was established to help ensure effective follow-up of the UK's WSSD commitments, and monitor progress towards sustainable development against the UK's 1999 sustainable development Strategy, "A Better Quality of Life". The Task Force, chaired by Defra Secretary of State, Margaret Beckett, brings together Ministers from across Whitehall with colleagues from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and some key stakeholders.

The last Task Force meeting, on 4 February 2004, considered DFID's draft Water Action Plan, which describes how DFID intends to take forward its commitments in water and sanitation, and continue to contribute to achieving the MDGs in a way that recognises that such efforts are most effective when they support plans drawn up by developing countries themselves. This will be presented to Parliament shortly.