§ Mrs. Spelman
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's response is to the World Water Assessment Programme's recent report. 
§ Clare Short
Nearly two thirds of the world's population will be living in countries of significant water stress by the year 2025, with the increasing possibility of conflicts over water becoming more common. One in five people in the world lack access to safe drinking water and nearly half lack access to sanitation. Misuse of resources and poor management have resulted in depleted supplies, falling water tables, shrinking inland lakes and stream flows reduced to ecologically unsustainable levels. In addition water pollution, from mainly human activities, is decreasing the amount of water suitable for many uses. At the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development strong commitments were made for better management of water resources and improved access to drinking water and sanitation and these must now be implemented.
In this context, initiatives that support the assessment of water resources and build capacity for the sustainable management of available resources are increasingly important. The UNESCO led World Water Assessment 515W Programme (WWAP), has been supported by DFID, from its outset in mid-2000. It is an effective long-term Programme providing assessment, monitoring and reporting of the people-centred status of the world's water. The UN World Water Development Report (WWDR)—Water for People Water for Life' which has just been released, is the first major output from the programme and will be presented at the 3rd world water forum in Kyoto, Japan, this week. The report represents the combined efforts of 23 UN agencies and convention secretariats and is now the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on the state of the world's freshwater resources. The availability of rigorous and authoritative water information at appropriate scales in the public domain will influence actions by others and allow critical issues to be identified.