Acting USAID Administrator Alonzo Fulgham and Daniel A. Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development, will lead an interagency delegation of technical experts to the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, March 16-22, 2009.
The World Water Forum is the largest international event on water. The host country, Turkey, is expecting over 20,000 attendees, including more than 100 Ministers. The participation of more than ten U.S. agencies demonstrates the U.S. commitment to engaging on water and sanitation issues, advancing U.S. partnerships and activities, and building global capacity, in order to better address water and sanitation challenges.
The United States will lead ministerial discussions on financing and engage in a number of high-level events focused on increasing access to drinking water and sanitation, managing the impacts of climate change, and reducing the impacts of water-related disasters. The focus of the U.S delegation will be on achieving concrete outcomes that make a meaningful difference in the lives of people on the ground. We are pleased to see many others joining us in these efforts at the World Water Forum.
These are important issues to the United States. In 2007, the United States committed over $1 billion to increase access to drinking water and sanitation, improve water resources management, and to enhance water productivity worldwide. We are now working in over 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. As a result of these activities, more than 2 million people received access to safe drinking water for the first time.