Monday, 23 August 2010

Dig Toilets, not Graves

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to attend a summit in New York on 20−22 September to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. In his report ‘Keeping the promise: a forward-looking review to promote an agreed action agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015’ he says:

Some progress has been achieved towards the target of halving the proportion of people without access to clean water, but the proportion without improved sanitation decreased by only 8 percentage points between 1990 and 2006.

The UN is rather more forthright (taken from here):

● The world is on track to meet the drinking water target, though much remains to be done in some regions.
● Accelerated and targeted efforts are needed to bring drinking water to all rural households.
● Safe water supply remains a challenge in many parts of the world.
● With half the population of developing regions without sanitation, the 2015 target appears to be out of reach.
● Disparities in urban and rural sanitation coverage remain daunting.
● Improvements in sanitation are bypassing the poor.

The United Kingdom government will be represented at the Summit by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister. WaterAid has an “urgent message” for him:

2.6 billion people worldwide still don’t have access to clean, safe toilets – a basic human right. This is more than an inconvenience. It’s a killer. Diarrhoea kills more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. The solution to the problem is simple − safe toilets will save thousands of lives. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will be attending a Millennium Development Goals summit in New York to discuss global poverty targets and we are asking him to make building toilets a priority. We call on our coalition Government to tackle this global crisis and prove their commitment by increasing aid to sanitation and water to £600 million. Please help us shout so loud the UK Government has to listen. There is no time to lose, so please put your name to our petition right now and together we can work to dig toilets, not graves.

Visit WaterAid’s ‘Dig toilets, not graves’ website where you can sign the petition – please do so by 19 September.