Intervention made at the Debate on:
MDG: Water and Sanitation
24 SEPT. 2008
By: Muriel M. Held,
Policy Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Suriname, as alternate Delegate
of the Suriname Delegation to the 63rd UN General Assembly
Thank you Mr. Moderator, your highness, other panelist.
Thank you, for the information brought by the panelists and the other speakers.
Suriname is one of the ten countries of the world blessed with high quantities of fresh water, and the largest part of our population in the capital city, where more than 70% of the population lives, has access to safe drinking water. The rural areas and especially the interior are still a challenge.
With due respect, I don’t think that we should prioritize sanitation over water as expressed by the representative of India. We have done great already by making the link between water and sanitation. Sanitation is an issue where in people themselves can do there part. But if there is no water, than there is no water!
Every country should set their own priorities, also taking into account international actions, regulations and measures.
I can agree with the representative of AMCOW, that there should be coordination and not only for Africa. Water is a natural resource, which is not available every where. It is not like forest, where you can say that every country had some kind of vegetation and some countries gave their forests up for development. On the other hand we should avoid that water becomes like oil, which also does not occur everywhere, and countries that have no oil have problems.
Countries with and without safe drinking water should join efforts together so that everybody can enjoy this basic human right to have access to safe drinking water. I welcome the joint action plan of the Netherlands and England to support partner countries to develop national action plans. I also support the view of the United Kingdom that there should be fair partnerships between the developed world and the developing countries in the efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals and in this case having safe drinking water for more than the majority of the world’s population by 2015.
Reaching this target will give incentives to all the other Millennium Development Goals which are all one way or the other linked to access to good water and sanitation.
I thank you