24 July 2013
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, Welcoming General Assembly Resolution, Estimates


Economic Losses Due to Poor Sanitation at $260 Billion


Following is UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s statement on the General Assembly’s Sanitation for All resolution:

I am delighted and grateful that Member States have adopted a resolution officially designating 19 November as World Toilet Day.  I thank the Government of Singapore for its leadership on a crucially important global issue.  This new annual observance will go a long way towards raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation.

Despite progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, one in three people do not have a basic toilet.  Almost 2,000 children die every day from preventable diarrhoeal diseases.  Poor sanitation and water supply result in economic losses estimated at $260 billion annually in developing countries.

Proper sanitation is also a question of basic dignity.  It is unacceptable that women have to risk being the victims of rape and abuse just to do something that most of us take for granted.  It is also unacceptable that many girls are pushed out of school for lack of basic sanitation facilities.

This new resolution builds on the General Assembly’s “Sustainable Sanitation:  the Drive to 2015”, agreed in 2010, and adds momentum to the “Call to Action on Sanitation” that I, on behalf of the Secretary-General, launched in March this year.

I urge every country to accelerate progress towards a world in which everyone enjoys this most basic of rights.  I look forward to working with all partners to make Sanitation for All a reality.

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For information media • not an official record