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Children urge world leaders to include them in push on water, sanitation and hygiene

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 10 June 2015 – Some 60 children and young people today told the International High Level Conference on Water for Life here that the world’s youth must be fully engaged in the effort to bring safe and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene to the most disadvantaged.

In their Call to Action, children from 12 countries attending the two-day conference urged world leaders to listen to their views on what they considered their most pressing issues.

“All children have the universal right to water and sanitation,” said Kamila Muhabbatova, a girl from Tajikistan during a speech in the presence of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

“Despite progress, many children have been left behind in the push to reach the Millennium Development Goals. These children represent the poorest and most vulnerable populations, and must be a priority in the post-2015 development agenda,” she said. “We emphasize the importance of involving children and young people in establishing priorities pertaining to water, sanitation, and hygiene. And, we stand committed to be active partners in achieving these goals.”
Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF's Global Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), welcomed the Call to Action.

“These children are sending a clear and important message: ‘Listen to us and let us do this together’. These issues affect them, not only at home, but in their communities and schools,” Wijesekera said.

“Adequate water, sanitation and hygiene is vital to the future of our world and these young people know it,” he added. “Without those basic rights, diseases devastate them, leaving them ill and wasted, cutting into their time in school, lessening their chance at a good education – and indeed their very chance of survival. We must do better for them.”

The children hailed from host country Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, South Korea, the Philippines, Ukraine, USA and Zambia. Prior to the Conference, they took part in a Children’s WASH Forum organized by UNICEF and the Government of Tajikistan.

The Children’s WASH Forum, from 6-8 June, provided opportunities for the young participants to improve their advocacy skills in the matter of children’s access to water, sanitation and hygiene. The Forum aimed to help children contribute to the global discussions on the issue, and advance the goal of giving WASH access to all children, everywhere – at home, in communities, at school, and during disasters – and so achieve the planned Sustainable Development Goals.


Note to editors:
The Water for Life Conference from 9-10 June was a response to the UN General Assembly’s mandate to the Republic of Tajikistan to convene Governments and civil society and take stock of the “Water for Life Decade 2005 – 2015”.

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: www.unicef.org. For more information about UNICEF Tajikistan, visit: www.unicef.org/Tajikistan.

For more information, please contact:

Parvina Muhamedkhojaeva, UNICEF in Tajikistan Communication Officer,
Office phone: (+992-44) 6000190, 6000191 and Mobile: (+992-918) 310071
E-mail: pmuhamedkhojaeva@unicef.org  

Lely Djuhari, UNICEF Regional Communication Specialist in Geneva,
Mobile: (+41-79 204 44 82) E-mail: ldjuhari@unicef.org  

Join our conversation on line and follow @UNICEFCEECIS, @UNICEFTajik, @UNICEFWater using #Wateris and #ChildrenWASHForum




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