|© UNICEF/ HQ99-0958/Jim Holmes|
|EAST TIMOR: A woman bathes her girl toddler at an outdoor pump in a destroyed neighbourhood of Dili, capital of East Timor, a little more than a week after the arrival of the INTERFET peacekeeping forces.|
Human excreta is the essence of the sanitation challenge. Without adequate sanitation facilities to safely contain and dispose of human faeces, a community, especially its women and children, are put at risk and it’s people locked in an endless cycle of poverty.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) recognise that sustainable access to improved sanitation is fundamental to human rights, health and dignity. MDG 7, aims to halve the proportion of the world’s population without sustainable access to improved sanitation by 2015. At the current rate, the world will not reach the 2015 target until 2026. Resources needed to tackle the global sanitation crisis have not been forthcoming because sanitation is hard to talk about and often considered a dirty word, but the reality is poor sanitation is deadly. Inadequate water and sanitation often results in:
• widespread damage to human health and child survival;
• social misery especially for women, the elderly and infirm;
• depressed economic productivity and human development;
• pollution to the living environment and water resources, soil and food.
To put the global community on track to reach the sanitation target, the General Assembly (GA) declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation (IYS). The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) is the lead coordinating body for IYS, working in close collaboration with the UN-Water Task Force on Sanitation, which consists of UNICEF, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), State Governments, NGOs, the private sector and academia.
IYS is expected to position the issue of sanitation more prominently on the global agenda by raising it’s profile with politicians, civil society, the general public and the media. IYS will focus on the need to take immediate, effective action in order to boost the rate at which access to sanitation is achieved and to meet the MDG target.
Related Press Releases and News Notes:
1 January 2008 - UNICEF welcomes International Year of Sanitation 2008
13 November, 2007 - In Latin America 103 million people are lacking access to basic sanitation
7 May 2007 - Addressing the global sanitation crisis
22 March 2007 - UNICEF highlights water scarcity on World Water Day
World Water Day 2008
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