We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the World Toilet Day
2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, with dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.
“Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation” is the theme for this year’s World Toilet Day, which seeks to put a spotlight on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy as well as the inequalities that are present in usability. Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.
With the tagline “WeCantWait”, the Day is an opportunity to inspire action and underscore the urgency needed to end open defecation, especially for the women and girls who are particularly vulnerable.
With the sanitation target the most lacking target of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, on behalf of the Secretary‐General, launched a campaign earlier this year to break the silence on open defecation and spur dialogue as part of the UN Call to Action on Sanitation.
The initiative builds on the strong commitment already made by UN Member States. The “Sanitation for All’ Resolution (A/RES/67/291) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2013, designating 19 November as World Toilet Day. The Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders.