Ensure environmental stability (MDG 7)

Sustainable environment, sustainable future

© UNICEF/HQ05-0693/Heger
Safe drinking water and basic sanitation are indispensable to primary health care and human development. They are a precondition for success in the fight against poverty, hunger and child deaths and in achieving gender equality.

The world as a whole is on track to halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, one of the key targets of Millennium Development Goal 7, to ensure environmental sustainability. Even so, coverage remains low, and improvements are even slower in basic sanitation, particularly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

In January 2005, UNICEF and the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre held a round-table meeting in Oxford (England) on water, sanitation and hygiene education for schools. These issues were squarely positioned as broad, intersectoral concerns of global importance. Participants included government ministers, policymakers, programme specialists, donors, private corporations and development banks, as well as schoolchildren and young people from eight developing countries.

UNICEF supported water supply, sanitation and hygiene in 95 countries in 2005 and coordinated emergency water and sanitation in such emergency-affected countries as Pakistan and in those hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami.