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Human Development Report 2006

Beyond Scarcity – Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crises

image of Human Development Report 2006
The 2006 Human Development Report focuses on water and human development. Water is central to the realization of human potential. It is a source of life for people and for the planet. Clean water and sanitation have a profound bearing on health and human dignity. Inequalities in access to clean water for drinking and to water as a productive input, reinforce wider inequalities in opportunity. With competition for water intensifying, there is a danger that poor and vulnerable communities will become increasingly marginalized. The twin challenge facing governments and donors is to accelerate progress towards universal access to water and sanitation; and to ensure that water management policies strengthen the rights of poor households to access water resources.

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The vast deficit in sanitation

“The history of men,” wrote Victor Hugo in Les Miserables, “is reflected in the history of sewers…. The sewer is the conscience of a city.” He was using the sewers of mid-19th century Paris as a metaphor for the condition of the city. However, there is a broader sense in which the state of sanitation says something about the state of a nation—and more profoundly about the state of human development.

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