Every Drop Counts
Partnership to Address Water Challenges – the UN Development Programme and The Coca-Cola Company Commit to Improving access to safe drinking water in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Istanbul – The UN Development Programme and The Coca-Cola Company have signed a five-year partnership agreement to address water challenges in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Providing financing and expertise to a number of initiatives – from infrastructure and sharing cleaner industrial technologies to education and local awareness campaigns about environmentally sound water management – this partnership will help local communities to solve their water related development problems. Projects in four pilot countries (Turkey, Kazakhstan, Romania and Croatia) are slated to start in late 2006, with additional countries joining the fray later next year.
Total budget of the flagship public-private partnership initiative, “Every Drop Counts”, exceeds USD 7m over a 5-year period in a region including 21 Countries. While the UN Development Programme brings its expertise in water governance issues to the partnership; The Coca-Cola Company underlines its commitment to help meet current and future water needs in environmentally and socially responsible ways.
Addressing the press conference held in Istanbul, Coca-Cola Region Manager Ahmet Burak stated that water challenges are among the most critical global issues and almost 6 million people in Turkey face problems in access to safe drinking water, according to official figures.
UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey, Mahmood Ayub, described the water crisis as one of the most crucial components of the poverty cycle and pointed out the significance of “Every Drop Counts” as an example of the increasingly important role played by global companies in finding solutions to development problems.
Access to safe drinking water is one of the world’s key development challenges: some 2 million children die each year for want of a glass of clean water or access to proper hygiene. “Lack of access” is more an issue of water management than actual scarcity—particularly for the countries of the former Soviet Union. Improved access to safe water has been identified by world leaders as one of the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015, and has been studied as the main theme of the UNDP 2006 Human Development Report to be announced next week.
Water issues are particularly critical in Central Asia, where many people live on incomes below the poverty line and a significant portion of the population faces serious challenges to access safe drinking water. Water issues are also a primary concern in Southeast Europe, particularly in the Danube – Black Sea Basin, where wasteful industrial and agricultural water uses are straining local ecosystems.
Because water is integral to Coca-Cola’s business, the company’s competitive position depends on its ability to economise on and manage this resource. The Coca-Cola Company has therefore implemented various initiatives focusing on monitoring water quality in its products, rainwater harvesting in arid regions, waste-water treatment in regions lacking them, and using desalination at plants with access only to salt water.
Through the “Every Drop Counts” initiative, Coca-Cola is committed to bringing its practical knowledge about efficient water use to help solve water-related development challenges in Europe and Central Asia.