Corporate CEOs say water can help end poverty
Top business leaders on Wednesday urged the world's eight largest industrialized nations to ensure the provision of safe drinking water for an estimated 1 billion people who have no access to it.
They said drinking water shortages has become an emerging global crisis, which could affect plans to halve the number of poor around the world by 2015. The UN estimates that more than 1 billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day, the dpa reported.
In addition to the 1 billion people who have no regular access to safe drinking water, another 2.6 billion people have no access to adequate sanitation.
"It is increasingly clear that lack of access to clean water and sanitation in many parts of the world cause great suffering in humanitarian, social, environmental and economic terms, and seriously undermines development goals," a letter signed by 19 chief executives of the some of the world's largest corporations said.
"Water, is not just an environmental issue, it is a poverty and development issue, an economic issue, and therefore, a business issue," the letter said.
The letter was sent ahead of the G-8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan, taking place from July 7 to 9. The group is composed of the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, Canada and Russia.
The G-8 is urged to take a number of actions to reaffirm the importance of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to fulfil pledges made at previous G-8 summits to allocate funds for water as part of development goals. The MDGs call also for achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combatting HIV/AIDS.
Signers of the letter included CEOs from Diageo, Hindustan Construction Company, Levi Strauss, Nestle, PepsiCo, Siemens AG, Suez, Dow Chemical Company and Coca-Cola Company. Those companies say they support UN principles dealing with human rights and labour practices and are part of a programme known as UN Global Compact.