WSSCC Executive Director, Chris Williams, at the World Village Festival, Finland

Date: 3rd June 2013

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WSSCC Executive Director Chris Williams praised the Finnish commitment to water and sanitation issues during a debate focusing on access to water as a human right at the World Village Festival in Finland.

Mr. Williams joined Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and Water and Sanitation Specialist Sanna-Leena Rautanen for panel discussions hosted by the foreign ministry during the festival.

“Finland is showing a commitment to improve people’s life around the world. Sanitation is not only a priority; sanitation is a need for the well being of everybody living in this planet” said Mr Williams. He added that one out of three people in the world do not have access to basic sanitation and underlined that Finnish contribution to increase the number of people with access is not only welcomed in the sector but “courageous and visionary”.

Mr Williams was one of 85,000 visitors to the annual World Village festival in Finland held 25 to 26 May in Helsinki. The festival highlights issues around development and globalization. Mr Williams joined colleagues from the WASH sector at the Kankkula Well foreign ministers stand. The stand highlighted the insufficiency of water resources and water consumption around the planet.

The Government of Finland is committed to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene in countries where needs are great. The Finnish development cooperation programme has helped over a million Nepalese to access sanitary toilets and 300,000 Nepalese access safe drinking water. In Ethiopia, more than 1.2 million people have been provided with access to clean water thanks to programmes supported by Finland.

During his visit to Finland, Mr Williams also met Kirsti Aarnio, Finland’s Ambassador to Ethiopia; Ms. Anne Sipilainen, Under Secretary of State for Development Cooperation and Development Policy; and representatives from the Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland.

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