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Clean Water

The NAACP calls on the United States, multilateral organizations, foreign countries, and companies to commit to increasing the number of people in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean who have access to clean water and sanitation by 50%.

WHEREAS, according to World Health Organization, a total of 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water and 2.6 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Three hundred thirteen million of those who do not have access to clean water and sanitation are in Africa, 100 million are in Latin America and the Caribbean; and

WHEREAS, according to Loic Fauchon, President of the World Water Council in 2005 "lack of water or its poor quality caused 10 times more deaths than all the wars waged on the planet together"; and

WHEREAS, access to water is mainly a crisis for the poor and more than two­ thirds of those without clean water survive on less than $2 a day. Either poor people are excluded because of a lack of legal rights to claim adequate water, or they fall outside the scope of limited water infrastructure that serves largely the rich; and

WHEREAS, inadequate access to safe water is the primary cause of many of the diseases that afflict Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. For example, 1.6 million children under age 5 around the world died from the consequences of unsafe water and inadequate hygiene; and

WHEREAS, the World Health Organization recognizes 25 major diseases as water-related. The death toll as a result of the water-related diseases is from 3-6 million a year. One water-related disease, diarrhea, causes an estimated 2,187,000 deaths a year, and four billion bouts of illness. An additional six million people are blind due to the effects of trachoma. Over 80% of hospital beds in the developing world are occupied by patients with water-borne diseases; and

WHEREAS, unsafe water and inadequate sanitation most negatively affect women and children. Women and children bear the primary responsibility for collecting water and making it safe to drink in many cultures; and

WHEREAS, women in Africa spend 40 billion hours every year collecting water. As demonstrated by the genocide occurring in Darfur, Sudan, women and children carrying heavy water containers are afflicted by serious health problems, and are exposed to attacks when walking to remote water sources. Women are often raped and killed as a result of transporting water. Women and girls suffer from inadequate sanitation during childbirth and menstruation. The lack of privacy causes girls to drop out of school, and many girls do not attend school because they do not have access to clean water; and

WHEREAS, unlike many of the problems that the world's poor face, the lack of water and sanitation is a problem that is preventable. In 2005, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act which was enacted with the stated goal of helping to reduce by one-half the proportion of the world's people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015; and

WHEREAS, in order to meet the goal, nearly 100 million additional people need to gain access to safe drinking water each year. The U.S. Government can lead this effort by committing to provide access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation for an additional 10 million people of the world's poor each year - 10% of the total; and

WHEREAS, clean and sanitized water crosses all problem areas. If proposed aid is targeted to reach at least 1 million children, it would address one of the most common reasons for non-attendance in schools (50% of the schools in the world lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation); and

WHEREAS, everyone deserves access to clean water and improved sanitation and the United States can play a strong leadership role in making clean water a reality for all.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the NAACP calls on the United States to appropriate in each fiscal year $500 million to help reach the target of providing water and improved sanitation to an additional 10 million people a year. As part of the 10 million, the target for Africa should be 4 million and Latin America and the Caribbean should be 1.5 million a year. One million school children should be included in the 10 million goal; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the appropriations legislative language in each fiscal year until 2015 should specifically state, "That of the funds appropriated under this Act, not less than $500 million is hereby appropriated for the Development Assistance Account for safe drinking water and sanitation supply projects and shall be expended to implement the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 (P.L.109-121 )"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the outlay should be expressed through a line item for "Drinking Water and Sanitation" in the Development Assistance Account for USAID. The funding to implement The Water for the Poor Act should be seen as additional to U.S. Government water and sanitation investments made primarily to address emergency relief or strategic concerns of the U.S. and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, there should be no demands on countries to privatize water supply; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in order to ensure the sustainability of these projects, development will be coordinated with ongoing efforts to encourage local governance reform, local capacity training, innovative financing, enhanced technical capability, and long-term monitoring and evaluation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, this issue will be coordinated through the NMCP's International Affairs Department and will ensure that these issues are presented to the appropriate government agencies, policymakers, and multilateral institutions.