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“Globally, 1.1 billion people live without access to safe water supply, and 2.4 billion live without adequate sanitation. In the Asia and Pacific region, 700.0 million are without water supply, and 2.0 billion are without adequate sanitation. The problem is particularly grave and pressing in the rural areas, where 70% of the world’s poor reside (Asian Development Bank’s [ADB’s] 2006 Discussion Paper, Serving the Rural Poor: A Review of Civil Society-Led Initiatives in Rural Water Supply and Sanitation). While the emphasis has been on expanding coverage, an independent expert panel reported in its 2006 review of the water policy of ADB that it did not find empirical evidence to suggest that poor people necessarily benefit from improved coverage. In its 2007 thematic evaluation of water supply and sanitation (WSS), the European Commission noted that, in the absence of valid impact data, no definitive statement can be made on the role of European Commission investment in WSS in promoting better health. However, available information pointed to a qualified success and that European Commission investment has made a positive contribution to better health in target groups. Multiple impacts and long time and resource requirements mean that rigorous impact evaluations (RIEs) of the WSS sector are seldom conducted.”

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