Multi-faceted approach to clean water and sanitation for all

Access to clean water and adequate sanitation facilities are vital for health and quality of life for everyone. After the success of the Millennium Development Goals – which ensured access to improved sanitation for 2.1 billion people and halved the number of people having to practise open defecation – the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to ensure a life of dignity for all by eliminating subpar sanitation conditions for everyone.

A set of coordinated events – UN High-Level Water and Sanitation Days 2015 – will take place on 18-20 November at UN Headquarters in New York. During the three days, participants will reflect on the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the set of interconnected water-related Sustainable Development Goals that set forth a broad and ambitious vision for the next fifteen years.

The Final meeting of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) spans the three days concluding with the UNSGAB Final Ceremony on 20 November. During the meeting, UNSGAB will share its Final Report with the Secretary-General, the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination and the international community. The Final Report reflects on the Board’s impact and legacy while also offering a set of recommendations for the international community on necessary structures, institutions and initiatives to advance water and sanitation objectives towards achieving sustainable development.

6The Second Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters will also be organized on 18 November by UN Secretary-General, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water and the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP).

The session aims to pull together the issue of Disaster Risk Reduction and Water, as well as other core global issues, which are closely interlinked with each other and are crucial for achieving sustainable development. The UN Secretary-General will deliver opening remarks, and His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Japan, who is Honorary Chair of the UNSGAB, will present the keynote address at the opening plenary.

On World Toilet Day, 19 November, the Singapore Mission to the UN with support from UN-Water will host a high-level event. Speakers, including the Deputy Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly, and officials from UNICEF, will discuss the links between sanitation and nutrition.

A new report from WHO, USAID and UNICEF, “Improving Nutrition Outcomes with Better Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Practical solutions for policy and programmes,” will also be released. The report brings together research and case studies that provide evidence of how inadequate sanitation contributes to malnutrition. A giant inflatable toilet will be displayed in front of UN headquarters near the staff entrance on 42nd street from 9am to 5pm.

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