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At the invitation of Asfaw Dingamo, Minister of Water Resources, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Ethiopia Field Office joined officials of the Government, Parliamentarians and other stakeholders from civil society, private sector and the donor community to celebrate World Water Day on 22 March 2010, under the theme “Clean Water for a Healthy World”.
Speaking at the event Minister Dingamo underscored the fact that access to safe water is directly connected to the Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, as well as reducing infant mortality. He further indicated that the implementation of Government’s development policies and strategies have contributed significantly to the improved safe water coverage in the rural areas, which increased from 8% in 1990 to about 61% in 2008, and from 73% to 88.6% in urban areas.
In his keynote address, Mr. Lamin Barrow, AfDB Resident Representative in Ethiopia, stated that human beings have often engaged in unsustainable practices that tend to undermine the quality of our fresh water resources, and the decline in water quality significantly affects the natural ecological balance, leaving millions of people in abject poverty. Hence “protecting our water resources from pollution and our environment from degradation is a major challenge of our time”.
The Resident Representative assured the stakeholders of the Bank Group’s commitment to strengthening the partnerships in scaling up support to increase access to quality water and improved sanitation.
Other activities to mark the day included a song by students from a Secondary school in Addis Ababa, music show, a poem on the theme of the World Water Day, and an exhibition show mounted by private sector service providers and equipment suppliers.