Maintain crucial funding to the United Nations, WaterAid urges


27 Jan 2017

As Prime Minister Theresa May meets US President Donald Trump, WaterAid urges her to press the issue of maintaining crucial US funding to United Nations agencies to help promote global security and prosperity.

As countries with strong global influence, the United States and United Kingdom should continue to show leadership and fully support multilateral organisations focusing on poverty reduction and sustainable development in an efficient and transparent way.

Whilst all country leaders have a duty to ensure that all government spending represents good value for money for taxpayers, reducing UN funding could have profound consequences and jeopardise the successful delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, including universal access to water and sanitation.

In her address to the Republican ‘Congress of Tomorrow’ in Philadelphia on 26 January, PM May cited the United Nations as an institution upon which the world relies, and said both the US and the UK should be proud of their historic roles in bringing it into being, thereby delivering peace and prosperity to billions of people.

WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost said:

"It is important to remember that there has been tremendous progress in recent times: more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990 alone, in no small part because of support from global leaders like the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Multilateral organisations such as the United Nations improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, through work in water, sanitation and hygiene; education, health, gender rights and the alleviation of poverty. These efforts save lives, and improve productivity and economic growth.

“Both the United Kingdom and the United States can be very proud of their historic support given to the UN and its agencies. Today, more than ever, we share a moral duty to ensure the poorest are not forgotten.”

WaterAid will continue to work closely with governments, international agencies and institutions, such as the UN and other development partners to ensure development aid and cooperation is as effective as possible in the years ahead.

WaterAid will continue to focus on our vision of everyone everywhere gaining access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030, and on our work with the world’s poorest towards better lives and an end to poverty.


For more information or to arrange interviews please contact: [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 4485, or Fiona Callister, global media lead, on [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 5022. Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552 or email [email protected].

Notes to Editors:


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.  The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.  Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 23 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 21 million people with sanitation.  For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at

  • Around 315,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s almost 900 children each day, or one child every two minutes.
  • Over 650 million people (around one in ten) are without safe water
  • Over 2.3 billion people (around one in three) live without improved sanitation
  • For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity.
  • Just £15 can help provide one person with access to safe water.
  • For details on how individual countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, please see our online database,