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
"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,"