ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
Edited by Douglas H. Brooks and Jayant Menon
Chapter 8: Meeting the MDG Water Target in Asia: The Role of Regional Co-operation
1 P.B. Anand I. INTRODUCTION Access to water is a high-priority policy issue from both human development and human security perspectives. Lack of access to water and sanitation is an important characteristic of poverty. This has been recognized, for instance, in the construction of Human Poverty Index. Improving access to water and sanitation has a signiﬁcant inﬂuence on decreasing the disease burden due to diarrhoeal and other water-related health risks and on improving overall quality of life. In recognition of these factors, the Millennium Development Goals include the aspiration to reduce by half the proportion of population without access to water and sanitation by 2015. According to the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund (2004) assessment, globally, 77 per cent of the population had access to water in 1990. This proportion has increased to 83 per cent in 2002, thus, is on track to achieve the target of halving the proportion of population without safe access by 2015. Much of this global increase comes from very signiﬁcant improvement in access to water in India and China. However, that report also notes that in 2002, two-thirds of the 1.1 billion people lacking access to an improved source of water were also in Asia. For example, among the six countries worldwide with the lowest proportion of population having access to water and sanitation in 2002, three countries2 were in Asia. The Millennium Task Force (UNDP, 2005) report highlights a number of factors why it is important to...
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