The Ligue Européene de Natation (LEN) and UNICEF have agreed to develop a partnership to raise awareness on the importance of clean water for every child.

With this partnership, European swimming will be supporting the UN Millennium Goal of reducing by half the number of people in the world living without safe drinking water and sanitation.

"This partnership will fulfill one of our main objectives - that of engaging European aquatics in a project for children", said Bartolo Consolo, President of LEN. "We are extremely pleased to collaborate with an outstanding organization like UNICEF on a project focusing on our main element - water. I really look forward to seeing the entire European aquatics society getting involved."

As a first contribution to this partnership, LEN and the Finnish Swimming Federation are dedicating the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Finland on 7-10 December, 2006 to UNICEF and safe water.

Together with UNICEF Finland, the urgent issue of clean water will be highlighted and promoted with swimmers and national federations throughout Europe. This will open up opportunities for long term partnerships at national level between federations and UNICEF national committees, and also encourage young swimmers to learn more about water and the situation faced by other children in developing countries. Young people and swimming stars alike will have a chance to advocate and help raise awareness and funds for UNICEF's work to ensure the right of safe water for every child.

"Water can be a child's best friend yet it can also be lethal when not handled properly", said Pentti Kotoaro, Executive Director of UNICEF Finland. "What better way to raise awareness of the importance of safe water and sanitation for children than through young swimmers."

UNICEF estimates that as many as 4000 children under five years old die each day as a result of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea. Almost a billion children worldwide have no access to improved sanitation. The partnership opens an excellent opportunity for national swimming federations and supporters of swimming to enter a race against time with UNICEF to help prevent those unnecessary deaths.

"Finnish Swimming Association and the whole Finnish swimming society welcome cordially the possibility of collaboration with UNICEF. Sharing the spirit of solidarity pervading the world aquatics, we highly appreciate this great opportunity to contribute to the important work of that renowned international organization. In the future, we are willing to continue this partnership with UNICEF Finland at the national level", said Rolf Mikkola, General Secretary of the European Short Course Swimming Championships and the head of the Finnish Swimming Association.


For 60 years UNICEF has been the world's leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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