By JASON GIMA WURI
AS MORE development takes place, the demand for water and sanitation services, a prerequisite for sustained development, have also increased drastically.
Forestry Minister Timothy Bonga stated this in his remarks while challenging the participants of the 3rd Pacific Water and Waste Sanitation Association conference at the Holiday Inn yesterday.
“On a regional scenario, we are faced with a magnitude of challenges in vital areas such as the environment, water and sanitation, food and health during the last decade and the reasons for these are many and very complex as no two scenarios are the same.
“Governments and private sectors, as well as donor agencies all over the world are striving to strike a balance in strategic sectors of their economies to address the respective millennium development goals (MDGs),” Bonga said.
He said goal number seven of the MDG was to ensure environmental sustainability. Target three, under goal seven, is to halve by 2015 the proportion of the world population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
“We are gathered here to discuss issues affecting the water and sanitation sector, this sector is of the utmost importance, as access to clean water and effective sanitation, is believed to have a catalytic effect on many aspects as human development, as well as being essential for healthy population and environmental sustainability.
“The PNG government has taken a holistic approach by working in consultation and partnership with service providers, private sector, community organisations and the ordinary people,” Bonga added.
He said that from the deliberations during the three days of the conference, it was hoped that a way forward be found through consultation, sharing ideas and resources to ensure everyone in the Pacific had sustainable access to safe drinking water and effective sanitation services.
“By entering into key partnerships with key stakeholders, implementation and ownership will be strengthened.
“Providing safe water and effective sanitation services to best international practices is no easy task. The government is now focused on addressing the lack of investment in infrastructure to provide a sound basis for PNG’s development.
“For water and sanitation Eda Ranu is responsible for the National Capital District while PNG Waterboard provides these vital services to 13 urban districts in PNG and three rural district centers made possible through donor funding.
“Access to safe water and effective sanitation continues to be a challenge in PNG as we are faced with the common challenge of addressing climate change issues which will have a profound impact on the availability of fresh-water sources for human consumption,” Bonga said.
“In PNG, we are blessed with an abundant supply of water but challenges such as climate change and unwise management and use of water resources are very real for the nation and the region.”