|© UNICEF/ HQ99-0646/Giacomo Pirozzi|
|IRAQ: A girl carries a jug of water on her shoulder in the northern city of Erbil.|
Safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene - something most of us take for granted - is still a luxury for many.
The good news is that the world is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals for water - with more than half the world’s households now using piped water; however the world is NOT on track to meet the sanitation targets. Current trends suggest that the total population without improved sanitation in 2015 will have decreased only slightly since 1990, to 2.4 billion.
o 87 per cent of the global population or approximately 5.7 billion people worldwide are now using drinking water with improved sources. However, under one billion people still do not have access to improved water sources.
o 2.5 billion people or 38 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. Almost 1.8 billion of them are in Asia.
In order to address the large sanitation deficit the United Nations General Assembly declared 2008 as ‘The International Year of Sanitation’. This year’s JMP report focuses on sanitation by reviewing the current situation, assessing progress achieved and understanding what these trends mean for the remainder of the Water for Life Decade 2005 – 2015.
UNICEF is committed to helping provide children with clean drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene as these are key components in helping children survive and thrive. Working in an integrated manner with local leaders and using schools as the focal point for change, UNICEF hopes to encourage students to take good hygiene and sanitation practices back into their homes and communities.
Increased community knowledge and understanding of sanitation issues and its linkages to health create a demand for improved services that in turn result in behavioral changes.
Access to clean water and sanitation are fundamental to every aspect of a child’s life – including the right to life and dignity and are an effective yardstick for measuring a country poverty level and vulnerability.
RELATED PRESS RELEASE AND NEWS NOTE:
17 August 2008 - World Water Week 2008 focuses on sanitation, health and hygiene
20 March 2008 - Sanitation becoming a luxury in Iraq