(NEW SCIENTIST) — Serious doubts are being raised over a UN claim that the world has halved the number of people without clean drinking water, meeting a target set in the UN Millennium Development Goals three years early.

The progress was hailed in New York by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon as “a great achievement for the people of the world”. But experts contacted by New Scientist said the target had been weakened since it was agreed at the UN General Assembly in 2000.

The original promise was to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water”.

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