Summit Agreement on New Goal to Expand Access to Sanitation
Johannesburg, 2 September In a major step forward to promote efforts to
eradicate poverty and protect the environment, countries agreed to commit
themselves to a target of 2015 for reducing the numbers of people who lack
access to proper sanitation.
The new commitment on sanitation comes as a companion target to the already
agreed upon goal of halving the proportion of people who lack access to clean
water, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals and which has been
reaffirmed in Johannesburg. The new commitments agreed to in Johannesburg also
call on countries to provide the resources and technical assistance needed to
embark on action programmes to meet the goals.
More than one billion people presently lack access to clean drinking water, and
over two billion people lack access to proper sanitation. A lack of clean water
and sanitation is blamed for causing more than three quarters of diseases. More
than seven million children die every year-6,000 a day-due to diarhoeal
diseases including cholera and dysentery. The new commitments to tackle the
water and sanitation issues are considered essential elements necessary for the
promotion of sustainable development.
"It is hard to imagine how we can implement sustainable development when
two billion people lack proper sanitation facilities," according to
Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai. "These new commitments
show that the Johannesburg Summit has moved the international community to take
action on an essential element in the fight to reduce poverty, promote human
dignity, and protect and improve the environment."
"This is an historic commitment," Desai said, "because for the
first time, the world has made the issues of water and sanitation a high-level
political priority. We need this political commitment, and now we need the
practical measures and partnerships to ensure that the new goals are met."
Desai cautioned, however, that the agreements on water and sanitation did not
mark the end of the fight. "We have to recognize that the new targets, if
met, will only bring clean water and proper sanitation to half of the people
who lack these necessities. There is still the other half, and we cannot stop
until everyone benefits."
During the Summit, several donor countries, including the United States and the
European Union, have pledged to commit significant resources to new initiatives
that will expand access to clean water and proper sanitation. In addition, many
partnership initiatives by NGOs, international organizations and the private
sector have been launched at the Summit to address these needs.
Copyright © United
Department of Economic and
Comments and suggestions
24 August 2006