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Environment ministry calls for more controls on water resources
10 | 10 | 2007
Despite remarkable progress in managing water resources, Viet Nam needs to continue with stronger management at all levels of localities, said Nguyen Cong Thanh, deputy minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE.)

Thanh spoke at a meeting yesterday in Ha Noi to celebrate the World Water Day, March 22, titled Coping with Water Scarcity and the World Meteorology Day, March 23.

"We need to further push up technology transfers, mobilise finance from different sources, including international aid, while drawing on real experience to manage the water resource more effectively to serve the country’s sustainable development," he said.

" We also need to further strengthen international co-operation aimed at sharing and tapping sustainable international water resources so as to seek out and implement measures to reduce and adapt to global climate changes by promoting understanding of the global impact of polar meteorology."

Chander Badloe, UNICEF Chief of Water, Environmnent and Sanitation Section, told the meeting that Viet Nam’s National Rural Clean Water Supply and Sanitation Strategy to 2020 made rural water supplies and sanitation a national priority.

The National Target Programme on Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (phase 2) had also clearly established goals to increase rural water supplies by 85 per cent, and to increase the number of hygenic latrines by 70 per cent, he said.

"To achieve these ambitious goals, it requires greater co-operation between the Government, agencies, donors, international organisations, NGOs and invididuals," he said.

Badloe outlined the important issues:

"A master plan of water resources management should be developed to be a management tool to solve conflicting interests in water usage. Co-operation, sharing responsibility in sustainable use and equitable distribution of water resources will be the right approach to maintain water resource for the next generation.

" More attention in raising awareness for rural communities on the importance of safe water, the risks of polluted and exhausted water resources and the value of environmental and water resource protection.

"Investment in urban infrastructure must increase to provide clean water and sanitation to Viet Nam’s rapidly growing cities. Improving access to clean water and sanitation for people in rural and mountainous areas is essential to achieve water security for all," he said.

Over two thirds of the Vietnamese population is affected by diseases related to unsafe water and poor sanitation. Poor access to water and sanitation also causes serious problems to children’s health with 44 per cent of children infected with worms and 27 per cent of children under five years malnourished.

Viet Nam needs 130 billion cubic metres of water for its social-economic development by 2010. But by that year the country could tap only 20 to 40 per cent of unpolluted water from different sources, according to standards set by the world meteorology organisation and UNESCO. — VNS



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