Coke, UN Habitat to address water woes

Kathmandu, April 18:

UN-HABITAT and Coca-Cola India announced a collaboration to improve community access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh in India and Nepal.

At the signing ceremony which took place at the 21st Session of the Governing Council in Nairobi on Monday, Anna Tibaijuka, executive director, UN-HABITAT said, “Clean water and sanitation are fundamental to improving living conditions of the urban poor. Our partnership with Coca-Cola, India, is an innovative example of how public-private-community partnerships can help meet the challenge of the Millennium Development Goals, especially those committed to halving the number of people not having access to clean water and adequate sanitation by the year 2015.”

On behalf of Coca-Cola, India, Deepak Jolly, vice-president for public affairs and communicatio-ns said, “Water is fundamental to all communities and we understand that businesses thrive on-ly amidst vibrant and sustainable societies.

Water management remains a priority and the Coca-Cola Company pursues the 4R programme of reduce, recycle, reuse and recharge to achieve the objectives of water management and conservation in India. We aim to improve the overall standard of living in

communities and we are delighted to enter into this partnership with UN-HABITAT.”

Some of the projects to be undertaken by Coca-Cola together with UN-HABITAT’s water, sanitation and infrastructure branch include; demonstration projects to increase water supply through rainwater harvesting and other techniques to store and conserve water in Madhya Pradesh, India; provision of safe drinking water and sanitation for urban poor in West Bengal; improved water management and sanitation in selected urban slums and rural areas of Nepal.

The project aims to provide access to potable water through WHO approved household level purification methods, as well as, awareness on sanitation. It will work in five-six urban areas in Nepal with a total population of about three million people; awareness raising programmes on water usage, sanitation and conservation, including capacity building and mobilisation of political will with legislators and political leaders.

The Coca-Cola Company and the United Nations system enjoys a long-standing partnership that includes advocacy and implementation of projects in a wide range of areas, including support of Millennium Development Goals.

The United Nations Office for International Partnerships has been facilitating the relationship since 1998 and serves as a gateway for developing concrete projects on the ground.