The Prince of Wales has launched a new initiative aimed at ensuring 50 million people have access to reliable and sustainable water sources by 2030.
The Resilient Water Accelerator will bring together governments, the private sector, development banks and agencies to help fast-track finances towards protecting vital water services from climate and health threats.
Some six locations, due to be selected by September, will be identified in Africa and South East Asia for the initiative, where new approaches to tackling the issues of pollution, rising “water-stress” and decreasing supplies can be tested.
Work on the ground is expected to begin in January next year.
The accelerator is part of Charles’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), supported by the World Economic Forum, which aims to help financial markets become more sustainable.
Its launch follows a pledge at the SMI’s Roundtable on Water in London at a summit organised by development charity WaterAid to work towards increasing available finance for climate-resilient water programmes, with a task force established to put this into action.
The Prince of Wales said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to ensure access to clean water services around the world.
“Since the first meeting in March of last year, the Water and Climate Finance Initiative Task Force has worked steadfastly towards achieving this, by boosting climate funding for comprehensive scalable resilient water programmes.”
Charles said he was “delighted” by the accelerator’s launch, adding that it would “work to provide reliable and sustainable water sources in countries that are battling the devastating effects of the climate crisis”.
He said he hoped the task force would continue to support proposals “to find the ambitious solutions that are all too vital”.
Tim Wainwright, WaterAid’s chief executive, said: “As the world hopes to emerge from the dark cloud of Covid-19, we have a real chance to seize the even bigger challenge of climate change.
“Without a reliable source of safe water, people cannot protect themselves, not just against disease but also the devastating vagaries of changing weather patterns.
“Climate change means more floods, more droughts and more severe storms and dramatically increases the risks to communities that already do not know from one day to the next whether they will get enough clean water for their basic needs.
“This initiative aims to reach 50 million people, in some of the world’s most marginalised communities, with reliable and sustainable water services.”
According to the charity, some 785 million people in the world, one in 10, do not have clean water close to home.
The Resilient Water Accelerator, being led by WaterAid, will bring together the governments of the UK, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso and Nigeria as well as the city of Maputo in Mozambique.
The World Bank, Unicef, the United Nations Development Programme and water and sanitation experts will also be involved, alongside consultancy Deloitte, engineering firm Arup and the UK’s overseas aid investment arm CDC Group.
Launched last year, Charles’s SMI has also created the ambitious Terra Carta, or Earth Charter, that aims to lay out a “recovery plan” towards sustainability that gives fundamental rights and value to nature.
The SMI’s Natural Capital Investment Alliance also aims to encourage 10 billion dollars worth of commitments from founding charter supporters by 2022, to be invested in companies and projects providing solutions to preserve and restore natural capital – renewable and non-renewable resources such as clean air and water and fertile soils.