Since this is the first time that Iceland takes the floor in the second committee during the 59th Session of the General Assembly, allow me at the outset to congratulate you and other members of the bureau on your election. I will today limit my comments to Agenda item 85 (a)
The Secretary-General’s report on the activities of the International Year of Freshwater makes clear that sustainable use and development of and access to freshwater is fundamental to success in achieving several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Water for Life Decade is very appropriately named. Without water there is no life.
As the Secretary-General’s report points out, “the real challenge today is to focus attention on action-oriented activities”. In this context I would like to bring the attention of the Second Committee to useful and action-oriented work being carried out under the auspices of WHO in which Iceland along with a number of other states is taking an active part.
In the framework of the Water, Sanitation and Health programme of the World Health Organization, discussions have been held with several countries to consider how best to assist Member States in addressing small-scale water supply management in towns or communities in relatively remote areas.
Iceland together with Australia, and Bangladesh are in the process of developing tools and methods to address community or small town water management supply.
Iceland has concentrated on the development of Water Safety Plans for small towns and communities, based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach. Plans are now being tested by four waterworks that serve communities ranging from 144 – 1 500 (one hundred and forty-four to fifteen hundred) people. These include three small fishing towns and one farming/tourist area.
Although Iceland, Australia and Bangladesh represent three climatic extremes and are situated in very different parts of the world, all three countries have related goals of increasing the capacity of communities to address water safety and management issues.
An initial meeting will be held in Iceland, in cooperation with WHO, in January 2005, with financial support from Iceland. Participants with experience of community water supply management from both developed and developing countries will attend. The main goal will be to review the tools now being produced by Iceland, Australia, and Bangladesh and to make plans for field testing in selected developing countries. Field testing will begin as soon as possible after the meeting in Iceland.
WHO has stated its believe that approaches of the kind now being evolved by Iceland, Australia, and Bangladesh can be effective in many Member States needing to enhance water supply and management issues in small communities. Several developing countries and a number of small island developing nations in the Pacific region are among those that have expressed interest. With monitoring, evaluation and follow-up, these systems have the capacity to progressively provide data and evidence for use on a broad scale and in a wide variety of geographic and social contexts.
It is Iceland’s hope that this initiative will prove a practical input in the context of the MDGs and the forthcoming UN Decade on Water for Life (2005 - 2015).
At the 58. session of the General Assembly Iceland introduced its intention to progress towards a Sustainable Hydrogen Society. The project; “Towards a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy” is an international research project and the outcome should give benefits to all, but not least the Developing Countries. Iceland will send an invitation to all the 2nd Committee representatives at the UN Missions and other interested parties to attend lunch briefings, co-sponsored by the Philippines, on the project at the Icelandic Mission in the 2nd week of November.
Thank you Mr. Chairman