UN: 14 March 2008 – More than 100 million Europeans still lack access to safe drinking water, resulting in the deaths from diarrhoea of nearly 40 children every day, the United Nations reported today, noting that many people across the region do not enjoy the basic human right to healthy water.
More than 170,000 cases of water-related diseases – including over 120,000 cases of viral hepatitis A – were reported in 2006.
In Eastern Europe, some 16 per cent of the population does not have access to drinking water in their homes, while in rural areas, more than half of all people do not have a reliable supply of safe water and adequate sanitation.
A new and independent Compliance Committee has been created to promote the prevention, control and reduction of water-related diseases and to increase the number of Europeans access to adequate sanitation.
It will also ensure compliance with the London Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, which seeks to increase access to safe water.
The new body, which was established by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the Regional Office for Europe of the UN World Health Organization (WHO), comprises nine experts, including scientists and environmental lawyers.
In its first meeting earlier this week, it appointed Attila Tanzi, an Italian professor of international law, as its Chair and Ilona Drulyte, a Lithuanian public health expert, as Vice-Chair.
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