29 November 2004 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced his hope to an international meeting on water, sanitation and hygiene that one day the world will no longer have to face the dire consequences of inadequate access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
In a message to the first Global WASH Forum, being held this week in Dakar, Senegal, the Secretary-General noted the meeting’s timeliness as part of the ongoing effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target year of 2015, as well as the approach the International Decade for Action from 2005 to 2015, under the theme of “Water for Life.”
“The stark truth is that every 15 seconds, a child dies as a result of diseases related to unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation,” he said. “Such deaths can be prevented, but only if we improve on the progress we have made to date, working simultaneously on water and sanitation and on the wider effort to alleviate the crushing poverty and debilitating health conditions that afflict so many men, women and children.”
He also stressed that cooperation at the international level could only be achieved through working together on the local and national levels – with communities, local authorities and national governing structures “committed and fully involved in making sure that real actions are taking place in their midst.”