Implementing water and sanitation programmes in peri-urban settlements Improving sanitation for urban poor
The 1980s saw considerable progress in development and application of low-cost water-supply and sanitation technology. Agenda 21 envisages continuation of this work, with particular emphasis on development of appropriate sanitation and waste disposal technologies for low-income high-density urban settlements.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends implementation of water, sanitation and waste management programmes focused on the urban poor.
The challenge to reach all people with basic water supply and sanitation services represents only one important facet of a broader challenge to manage the world's increasingly threatened water resources; we cannot hope to meet the first goal without securing the second. And nowhere is the challenge more complex and demanding than in the megacities in the developing world which have to choose between drawing water from ever more distant sources or by dipping deeper into their limited groundwater sources. While freshwater supplies are rapidly dwindling, some 2 million tonnes of human excrement and an ever-increasing volume of untreated discharge from industry continue to pollute urban water resources every day.
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