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Message of the President, Asian Development Bank
Nearly half of the global population now lives in cities, and this is expected to rise to two-thirds by the year 2030. The world’s cities today harbour one billion slum dwellers, living in severe overcrowding, in temporary structures and without access to the most basic amenities. As a result of these harsh conditions, the urban poor face unprecedented risks to their health, ability to earn, and face even deeper levels of poverty. This demographic shift is also putting significant pressure on water and sanitation resources and services.

Nearly half of the Asia-Pacific region’s population still live on $2 a day or less. One in five people do not have access to safe drinking water and almost half of the population in the region does not have access to proper sanitation. Poverty in all its aspects remains the region’s most daunting problem.

Water and sanitation are key instruments in reducing poverty, improving livelihoods, and promoting economic growth. Under the Water for Asian Cities Programme, the ADB in partnership with UN-HABITAT has been financing investments for pro-poor and community-based water and sanitation initiatives through measures that sustain service delivery and strengthen the capacity of the governments, utilities and communities. These initiatives also help demonstrate providing new knowledge and sharing successful local actions in various countries.

UN-HABITAT has considerable experience in addressing the challenges of Water and Sanitation, building awareness, providing technical assistance and strengthening institutional capacities. UN-HABITAT's global know-how in these areas are complementing ADB's role as the main regional financial institution. The Web-site of Water for Asian Cities Programme would further strengthen the collaborative efforts of ADB and UN-HABITAT and facilitate in bridging the resource gap in the region.

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