Sunday, 21 December 2008

What has IYS2008 achieved?

As we end the International Year of Sanitation 2008 it’s timely to ask what’s been achieved. Well, no great reduction (if any at all) in the numbers of people needing good sanitation (and ‘good’ = ‘adequate’, not ‘improved’). But this wasn’t really the point of IYS2008. Rather, it was to raise awareness about the truly awful (shocking, shameful, disgraceful − take your pick of adjective) state of sanitation in the developing world today, and this it has done very successfully. At least political leaders can’t now claim to be ignorant about the awful/shocking/shameful/disgraceful state of sanitation in their countries: there’ve been regional sanitation conferences in all parts of the developing world, each with its own Declaration. But the poor need sanitation now, not just politicians talking about it − so we’ll just have to wait and see if there are Actions on the scale required, in addition to all those fine Words.

Isn’t it very extraordinary that politicians in many developing countries still continue to allow their people, in huge numbers, to live without adequate water supplies and adequate sanitation − actually to die in huge numbers because they lack an adequate water supply and adequate sanitation? I wonder if they’ll ever really wake up and face facts. Time is not on the side of the Poor.

This blog will continue into 2009 and beyond...