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Source: www.un.org

Tackling Water, Sanitation, Energy Nexus Key to Sustainable Future – UN Officials

General Assembly President John Ashe (right) opens the thematic debate on water, sanitation and sustainable energy. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is at left. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

The water, sanitation and sustainable energy crises are the among the world's pre-eminent development challenges, senior United Nations officials warned, urging Member States to adopt coherent integrated policies and innovative strategies to tackle these issues, which take a tragic toll on the lives of millions of poor people, especially women and young girls.

"Lack of access to water, sanitation and sustainable energy services is a compound magnifier of poverty, ill-health and mortality, and gender inequality," said General Assembly President John Ashe as he opened the 193-member body's thematic debate on the issue.

The gathering was the first in the series of such debates and high-level events he will host this year to provide a platform for Member States and other stakeholders to set the stage for the post-2015 development agenda.

Mr. Ashe has made the effort to achieve a new post-2015 agenda to succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the hallmark of his year-long Assembly presidency, which ends in September.

The MDGs, agreed by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, aim to slash extreme hunger and poverty, cut maternal and infant mortality, combat disease and provide access to universal education and health care, all by the end of 2015. But these targets will likely not be reached in many countries and areas, and they will be incorporated in an even more ambitious post-2015 agenda.

"Addressing this nexus of water, sanitation and sustainable energy is not just a matter of grave concern, it is a matter of moral imperative for the entire international community," said Mr. Ashe, explaining that the magnitude of the problem is great: 783 million people live without clean water; 2.5 billion have no adequate sanitation; and 1.4 billion people are without access to electricity.

He said the international community is already in agreement that energy, water and sanitation are essential to the achievement of many development goals. "They are inextricably linked to climate change, agriculture, food security, health, gender and education, among others," said Mr. Ashe, adding: "So today, I ask you to consider how we can develop a more integrated approach to problem-solving so that we can best address this development nexus."

"Let us not forget that we are working on behalf of countless millions who are currently consigned to eking out a living in the dark, who watch their infants die of dehydration, and who are mothers and wives, fathers and sons suffering the adverse effects of indoor air pollution that accrues from the use of inefficient energy services," he said.

Tackling such "complex and self-reinforcing problems" will require Member States to "dig deep, to express your creativity, to share your experiences and to provide your guidance and inputs in collaborating to achieve these goals, and in creating a post-2015 world that allows every member of the global family to live in dignity," said Mr. Ashe.

Conitue reading: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47165#.Uwt_Gl7ViEB

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