November 11, 2009President of Liberia named Goodwill Ambassador at 2nd Africa Water Week
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf talks of need to end water and sanitation crisis
President Johnson-Sirleaf accepting her role as a Goodwill Ambassador for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Africa.
H.E. the President of Liberia was yesterday named as Goodwill
Ambassador for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Africa at the 2nd
Africa Water Week taking place in Midrand, South Africa.
role of Goodwill Ambassador was bestowed upon Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
jointly by the international charity WaterAid and the African Civil
Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) with support from the
African Ministers' Council on Water and Sanitation (AMCOW).
President was represented at today's certification ceremony by Mr
Eugene H Shannon, the Liberian Minister for Land, Mines and Energy.
The status quo on water and sanitation in Africa is no longer acceptable.
As part of the keynote address, WaterAid trustee Agnes Kalibbala said:
"Today, in the year 2009, only 26 African countries are on track to
meet the Millennium Development Goal for water, and only six are on track
to meet the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation."
to the World Health Organization, every year lack of water and
sanitation costs Sub-Saharan Africa around $23.5 billion, or 5% of its
She went on to say: "We have been hugely encouraged by
Her Excellency's interest in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.
As the first female African Head of State, she has expressed deep
concern for the world's poor and a commitment to make the world a
better place for all. She has a proven interest in human rights and the
plight of deprived communities and peoples, especially women.
believe that President Johnson-Sirleaf's readiness to become Goodwill
Ambassador demonstrates the profound willingness to move the water and
sanitation sector agenda forward in Africa."
In a recorded
acceptance speech, President Johnson-Sirleaf said: "We know that
worldwide one out of every four deaths under age five is due to
water-related diseases. We also know that 80% of illnesses are linked
to poor water and sanitation conditions in our developing nations. We
must do more to reverse this trend."
She continued: "The status
quo on water and sanitation in Africa is no longer acceptable. For as
long as water and sanitation remain neglected and for as long as water
and sanitation poverty threatens lives and our development prospects,
all of us are diminished. The time for words and statements of concern
has passed, it is now time for action."
WaterAid and ANEW are calling on African leaders attending Africa Water Week to:
- Fully implement and independently monitor the Sharm El-Sheikh and eThekwini commitments on water and sanitation.
- Work closely with international counterparts, including the G8, to
strengthen a Global Framework for Action on Water and Sanitation, in
order to mobilise international efforts to support African commitments.