Ethiopia, 23 March 2012: On World Water Day, poor rural people missing out on safe water and basic sanitation
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 23 March 2012 – As the world commemorates World Water Day, UNICEF called on governments to pay particular attention to those living in rural areas who are being left behind in their countries' progress, especially with regard to access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Two weeks ago a UNICEF and World Health Organization report showed conclusively that poor people in rural areas are overwhelming those without these most basic necessities for life.
The report, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, says the world met the Millennium Development Goal target for drinking water at the end of 2010, when 89 percent of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved drinking water sources. However, it says that rural dwellers are several times more likely than their urban counterparts to be without access to safe drinking water. According to the report, globally there is an almost universal disparity of access to safe drinking water in rural areas compared to urban areas.
In Ethiopia, according to the Growth and Transformation Plan (2010), the water supply coverage is 65.8 percent (91.5 percent urban and 62 percent rural). While there has been significant progress in recent years, there are still close to 30 million Ethiopians who lack access to safe and reliable sources of drinking water. The Joint Monitoring Report (JMP) 2012 update reports that the percentage of population using improved drinking water sources is 44 percent (97 percent urban and 34 percent rural). The difference in between the Government and JMP figures can be explained in part by different definitions of improved water source. According to Federal Ministry of Health 2009 report (Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP) IV Annual Performance Report 2009/2010) the national coverage of sanitation stands at 60 percent with urban coverage ahead of rural coverage (88 and 56 percent, respectively).
The Ethiopian Government has laid out ambitious plans for water, sanitation and hygiene through its “Universal Access Plan II” – which seeks to reach 98.5 percent access to safe water and 100 percent access to sanitation by 2015 (far more ambitious than the MDGs). In order to reach these targets, innovative, cost-effective sector-wide approaches are needed. The cost of achieving these targets will be significant. Recent estimates suggest reaching the “UAP” targets by 2015 could cost as much as US$3.01 billion. Current levels of investment are only about one third of this estimated resource requirement.
UNICEF is supporting the Government and its partners to accomplish this in the WASH sector. UNICEF’s efforts in this regard includes:
For further information, please contact:
Alexandra (Sacha) Westerbeek, Communication Manager, Media and External Relation Section, UNICEF
Wossen Mulatu, Communication Officer, Media and External Relation Section, UNICEF
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