There is no single UN entity dedicated exclusively to water issues. Over 30 UN organizations carry out water and sanitation programs, reflecting the fact that water issues run through all of the UN’s main focus areas. UN-Water’s role is to coordinate them all so that the UN family ‘delivers as one’ in response to water-related challenges.
An estimated 673 million people have no toilets at all and practice open defecation (2017), while nearly 698 million school-age children lacked basic sanitation services at their school. At the current rate of progress, it will be the twenty-second century before sanitation for all is a reality. While the challenge is significant, history shows that rapid progress is possible. Get more information about this topic with the State of World’s Sanitation from WHO and UNICEF.
International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.