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More effort needed on water access, says U.S. Treasury Secretary O'Neill
Posted 10/10/2002

HOUSTON -U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on Tuesday repeated the need for international development efforts to focus on access to clean water in developing nations, going so far as to suggest picking a single country as a test case of what could be done.

"For example, let's say we identify a country with, say, 20 million people, half without clean water. That would be a sufficient demonstration so that when we succeed, no one could say it was a hot-house, one-of-a-kind experience,'' O'Neill said in prepared remarks to be delivered to at symposium called the Millennium Water Challenge.

"To really test ourselves I would propose that we set a goal to bring clean water to the people of our selected country in 24 or 36 months," he said.

O'Neill has often been critical of the mainstream international development community for being overly bureaucratic and slow in their efforts, and he acknowledged his proposal "will bring the experienced people in the development business out of their chairs."

"Some will say, we shouldn't set ambitious goals because if we fail, it will set back the work of economic development. And some will say we shouldn't set such ambitious goals because if we succeed, people will expect too much from us," he said.

"To all of these, I say it's time to dare greatly," he said.

Copyright 2002, Reuters
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This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.

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