Media centre


Latest news


Ethical Guidelines

Contact us


Children & Water: Central and Eastern European & the Commonwealth of Independent States


Central Asian countries are facing a steady shrinking of water reserves in the wake of environmental change – and national water systems are struggling to cope. With severe imbalances in access and a lack of regional co-operation to manage the existing water resources, the poorest children are being left far behind. There are a growing number of water-borne diseases, including among children below five years old.  Sound water management is priority for the region, as is access to basic sanitation services.  Russia, the country with the region’s largest population, has not increased its water or sanitation coverage levels over the last decade.  Only half of people living in rural Russia have water piped directly to their homes. There is a need for more information and action within civil society to make water and sanitation a priority and highlight the needs of the poor and socially vulnerable.

Priority countries

- Tajikistan, the source of 60% of Central Asia’s freshwater, must rehabilitate 60,000 hectares of irrigated land. Only 53 per cent of its own population has access to safe water, and 23 per cent has adequate sanitation facilities. Water-related diseases are among the most common causes of child mortality.

- In Turkey, sanitation access has declined over the last decade, particularly in rural areas.

Progress and innovation

- Tajikistan recently pioneered a meeting of more than 50 countries on better co-operation on management of water reserves, including humanitarian, ecological, regional, and private and other organizations.  The meeting also gave a platform to students and young people to make their voices heard.

© UNICEF/SWZK00017/Pirozzi
RUSSIAN FEDERATION 2004: The joys of soap and clean water. Egor, aged 7, at the UNICEF-assisted Social Rehabilitation Centre, 'Otradnoye', north east of Moscow, the capital.

UNICEF in Action

UNICEF has been strengthening sanitation and hygiene projects around schools, using strategies adapted to fit local needs.  These projects are being used as guides to strengthening national water policies, improve systems and get communities involved.  In Tajikistan, UNICEF has brought these programmes to 340 schools since 2002, including training more than 680 teachers, 340 headmasters and 60 school inspectors and providing schoolchildren with latrines, wells for safe water and hygiene education. In Turkmenistan, UNICEF delivered schoolchildren hand washing stands, water tanks for storing drinking water, classroom water and hygiene kits, and a hygiene and sanitation resource books in local languages.

Factsheet, Word






Voices of Youth:

The Children's World Water Forum
Mexico City
16th – 22nd March, 2006

Get more information about the 2nd Children’s World Water Forum

Read the Children's Water Manifesto

Find out more about the 4th World Water Forum



UN World Water Development Report 2, Executive Summary





 Email this article

unite for children