Thank you for contacting me about water and sanitation.

I am very sorry but I due to a very heavy schedule I was unable to attend the event on 15 July. However, I believe that access to clean and safe water, sanitation and hygiene are among the most basic of human needs. Providing access to clean drinking water and effective sanitation is vital for improving people’s health and will give them the opportunity to work, which in turn will drive economic growth, helping countries become self-sufficient.

I am therefore pleased that the Coalition Government helped to provide access to clean drinking water, improving sanitation facilities and provide basic hygiene education, such as the need to wash hands. As part of this the Department for International Development (DFID) is building wells, standpipes, pumps and toilets and sewerage systems and encouraging the private sector in developing countries to do more to improve facilities and infrastructure. For example, DFID funding will provide six million people with access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene education in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the next four years. The £25 million funding and UNICEF programme is helping to improve water quality and sanitation in rural areas.

The Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015 and as part of the process of negotiating the next set of goals, the UN Secretary General asked the Prime Minister to co-chair a panel of 27 members from around the world to put forward recommendations. This panel concluded its work in 2013 and put forward a bold and ambitious agenda for ending extreme poverty by 2030. Since then David Cameron has campaigned for a simple, compelling and measurable set of goals that reflect the panel’s recommendations. Negotiations to finalise the new goals are now underway and will conclude in September 2015.

I hope this reassures you that the Government will continue to help people in developing countries access clean and safe water.

Thank you again for contacting me.