Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Sustainable Sanitation: The Five Year Drive to 2015

Sanitation for All, the Drive to 2015Access to sanitation has been recognized by the UN as a human right, a basic service required to live a normal life. And yet, some 2.6 billion people – or half the population in the developing world – still lack access to improved sanitation.

In a bid to improve the health and well-being of millions of people worldwide, the United Nations has launched a major drive to accelerate progress towards the goal of halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without access to basic sanitation.

The drive was established by the General Assembly in a resolution adopted last December that called on Member States to redouble efforts to close the sanitation gap, one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015. The resolution established a global push, "Sustainable Sanitation: The Five-Year-Drive to 2015" (5YD), to focus attention on the Goal and to mobilize political will, as well as financial and technical resources.

The resolution also made history by calling for an end to open defecation, the most dangerous sanitation practice for public health and one practised by over 1.1 billion people who have no access to facilities. According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), children under five are the most vulnerable to poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation, two of the major causes of diarrhea which kills at least 1.2 million children under five each year.

Extending safe sanitation facilities is neither prohibitively expensive, nor technologically unattainable, yet the Joint Monitoring Programme of UNICEF and WHO reported in March of this year that progress on sanitation actually slowed between 2006 and 2008.

“Sanitation is a sensitive issue. It is an unpopular subject. Perhaps that is why the sanitation crisis has not been met with the kind of response we need,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch.

“But that must change,” he added. “It is time to put sanitation and access to proper toilets at the centre of our development discussions.”

The 5YD picks up on and continues the spirit of the 2008 International Year for Sanitation which helped to put the neglected sanitation crisis onto the agendas of government leaders, the donor community, civil society and the business sector.

Visit the "Sanitation Drive 2015" website:
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UN-Water strengthens coordination and coherence among UN entities dealing with issues related to all aspects of freshwater and sanitation. This includes surface and groundwater resources, the interface between freshwater and seawater and water-related disasters.

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