By Rebekah Ison, Louise Cheer
Water sanitation remain a huge global issue more than a decade after it was set as a goal as part of the 2000 UN Millennium Summit.
The issue was on the table again today as members of international aid organisations gathered in Brisbane today to discuss water sanitation and supply problems faced by developing nations.
The five-day conference will be held at the Central Bardon Conference Centre.
Influential members of The World Bank, UNICEF and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will be amongst the group of more than 80 speakers uniting to discuss international water issues.
Brisbane’s International Water Centre is behind the event.
International Water Centre CEO Mark Pascoe said the conference is an exciting opportunity to explore potential solutions to the world’s water issues.
“It’s really good to have some really interesting people and key people from the sector and around the world to explore these challenges, and to share what works and what doesn’t and to be explicit about the challenges we have,” he said.
Attendees will draft a summary of the conference specifying future steps towards achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals as well as analysing the success of previous conferences.
Australia is one of 23 nations dedicated to implementing Millennium Development Goals set out as part of the 2000 UN Millennium Summit.
Mr Pascoe said assessing the success of the Millennium Development Goals is difficult but believes the government is on target in some areas.
“Generally, we’re on track to reach the Millennium Development Goals for improved water supplies, but we’re not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals for sanitation,” he said.
“So sanitation remains a huge challenge.”
Care Australia CEO Dr Julia Newton-Howes said the recent budget has put the government back on target to provide 0.5 per cent of gross national income to foreign aid.
Australia ranks 16th out of 23 countries donating aid in conjunction with fulfilling Millennium goals.
Mr Pascoe said the world’s 13th largest economy could do more.
“We are a wealthy country and we’ve had a couple of tough years but I still think when we look around, people are doing it a lot tougher than we are,” he said.
“I do think we can afford to be generous and perhaps more generous.”