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Copenhagen Consensus: Water and Sanitation Assessment, Rijsberman

An Assessment Paper on Water and Sanitation was prepared for the 2004 Copenhagen Consensus by Frank Rijsberman. The working paper used by the Expert Panel is available for download here, the finalized paper has been published in Global Crises, Global Solutions by Cambridge University Press.

Short Summary

Despite the massive investment in water resource development during the twentieth century – in recent decades also reaching the developing world – there is still what many see as a “water crisis”. This has two key facets: lack of access to safe and affordable domestic water supply (for over a billion people) and sanitation (for nearly half the world’s population) - and lack of access to water for productive purposes for the rural poor.

There is clearly sufficient water available in the world for all Mankind’s needs: domestic, industrial and agricultural, although it is distributed very unevenly. The problem is not lack of water, but that the unserved do not have access to capital (financial or political) to make it available to them. The challenge addressed here is therefore providing access to safe water for poor people for domestic and productive purposes.