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Business leaders urge G8 governments to take action on emerging water crisis

Summary

Business leaders representing some of the world’s largest companies today launched an international campaign urging governments of the Group of Eight (G8) countries to address with urgency the emerging global crisis in water and sanitation.

In a letter released by the United Nations Global Compact Office, the chief executive officers of 19 corporations call on G8 leaders to actively address the issue of water during their upcoming Hokkaido Toyako Summit on 7-9 July in Japan. The business leaders are all endorsers of the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, which was launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in July 2007.

It is estimated that approximately one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.6 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. The letter cites a recent United Nations Development Report, which argues that the costs to sub-Saharan African economies of not having basic universal access to water and sanitation represent about five percent of gross domestic product.

The letter calls on leaders of the G8 countries to take a number of actions, including: re-affirming the importance of achieving the Millennium Development Goal related to water in G8 Summit preparatory documents and in final communiqués; fulfilling their Gleneagles commitment on water and sanitation by ensuring that allocations for safe drinking water and sanitation increase as a percent of all official development assistance (ODA), and that ODA increases overall; and encouraging non-G8 nations to pay more attention to the Millennium Development Goal related to water.