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Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd, Ethiopian government, UNICEF lead talks on global access to water, sanitation and hygiene

© UNICEF/UN013479/Sewunet
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake speaks at the opening of the Sanitation and Water for All Ministerial Meeting, Addis Ababa, 15 March 2016

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 15 March 2016 – Government ministers and representatives of development agencies, civil society, private sector and NGOs are gathered in Addis to agree on a way to meet targets on universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene as called for in the new Sustainable Development Goals.

The two-day, high-level meeting, under the aegis of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, and convened by UNICEF, is hosted by the Government of Ethiopia.

Attendees will pin down what the sanitation, water and hygiene-related SDG targets mean for the sector and agree on a follow-up and review system. They will identify their different roles and responsibilities in achieving these targets, aiming at clear action plans, strategies and milestones, and agree on how to work with related sectors such as health and nutrition.

“I am excited to see so many ministers and senior representatives from governments in this room, but equally encouraged to see them joined by partners from the private sector, civil society, the UN system and research and learning institutions,” said the Hon. Kevin Rudd, newly appointed Chair of SWA and former Prime Minister of Australia, at the opening of the meeting. “The Sustainable Development Goals demand both greater coordination and new modalities of finance. We need more money, and smarter ways to use the money we have.”

His Excellency Dr. Mulatu Teshome, President of Ethiopia said: “Ethiopia stands ready to share its experiences on the ONEWASH national programme through field visits to our urban WASH programmes as well as in meeting interactions. Ethiopia seeks to identify best practices that we can learn from other members of the SWA partnership. As one of the early members of Sanitation and Water for All we are happy to see the progress that the partnership is making and indeed the opportunities it provides for collaboration especially around the newly adopted SDGs.”

According to the latest estimates, 32 per cent of the world’s population – 2.4 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and 663 million people still do not have access to improved drinking water sources. Diarrhoeal diseases caused by lack of access to clean water and sanitation, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kill 800 children under 5 years old every day.

“Safe, sustainable water, and equitable, adequate sanitation and hygiene underpin all the progress we hope to make – and have to make – for children in the next 15 years,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “If we don’t make progress on WASH, we will not reach the SDGs – and millions of children will not realize their right to grow up healthy and strong.  So we need to invest more, better integrate our efforts across sectors, and innovate to find new ways of reaching every child, every family, and every community.”

The conveners stressed the importance of achieving universal access in all countries. In addition to health gains from safe water, better sanitation contributes to economic development, delivering an estimated US$5.5 in social and economic benefits for every $1 invested, through increased productivity and reduced healthcare costs. 


Note to Editors:
The SWA Ministerial Meeting brings together over 40 ministers from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and other high-level representatives from development agencies, civil society organizations, research and learning institutions and the private sector. They will discuss the implications of the SDGs on planning, funding and human capacity over the next 15 years. The aim is for countries, supported by partner organizations, to plan joint actions, in particular targeting the communities and individuals most in need.

About the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership
SWA is an established, global, multi-stakeholder partnership with a vision of sanitation, hygiene and water for all, always and everywhere. SWA has over 100 partners partner drawn from governments, civil society, donors, development banks, research and learning institutions, the private sector and other agencies.

The partnership works as a platform for leading, galvanizing and facilitating political dialogue, coordinated action, advocacy, and follow-up and review on progress made towards the water, sanitation and hygiene-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:   Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information, please contact
Alexandra Reis, Sanitation and Water for All, +251 (0)967 527 918 (Ethiopia), +41 79 910 4507 (Switzerland),, Skype: alexandra.alliance

Alexandra (Sacha) Westerbeek, UNICEF Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 518 4039, Mobile: +251 911 255109,

Rita Ann Wallace, UNICEF New York, +917 213 4034;




External link

Op-Ed by UNICEF WASH Chief Sanjay Wijesekera on how to meet the SDG targets for water, sanitation and hygiene
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