Water Accessibility Vital: Akbar

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Participants with the Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar (center) at the SDG meet at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi. Photo: LUKE NACEI

By LUKE NACEI

Access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and hygiene are all essential ingredients to ensure human health says the Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar.

Minister Akbar made this address while officiating at the Developing a Pacific Strategy to Implement Sustainable Development Goal on Water Sanitation and Hygiene forum at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.

Ms Akbar said the Fijian government along with other 192 countries at the UN General Assembly vowed to transform the world.

“Unlike the Millennium Declaration, this time we promised to rid the world of poverty, disease in our generation through a transformative agenda where we created a comprehensive framework for development which is underpinned by economic, social and environmental sustainability under good governance,” she said.

“In other words, we set a global agenda of developments that are economically viable, socially demanded and acceptable and environmentally friendly.”

She said: “The stakes are even higher as island nations are further threatened by the impacts of climate change such as sea level rise can cause seawater intrusion into aquifers, while increased temperatures and changing rainfall patterns affect ground water recharge and the viability of critical rainwater harvesting system.”

Ms Akbar also said that the increasing frequency of extreme weather, such as prolonged dry weather condition pose additional threats to overall water security.

She told the participants to focus on SDG WASH issues from target setting to implementation and to monitoring.

“The workshop will provide guidance to countries on developing or revising national drinking water quality standard as it is a key element in the enabling environment for water safety planning.”

Attending the three days forum are representatives from World Health Organisation, delegates from Government Ministries and representative from the Pacific Island States.