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WHO Director of Public Health and Environment: Neglecting sanitation and drinking-water is a strike against progress

According to the latest UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report, launched on 21 April 2010 by UN-Water and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Washington, between1997 and 2008, aid commitments for sanitation and water fell from 8% of total development aid to 5%, lower than commitments for health, education, transport, energy and agriculture.

Without sanitation and drinking-water communities and countries will lose the battle against poverty and ill-health, said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health and Environment.

The findings from the UN-Water GLAAS report will be for Ministers of Finance from developing countries, accompanied by Ministers responsible for sanitation and water, and representatives from donor countries to gain a greater understanding of the linkages between water, sanitation, and economic growth, in order to commit the appropriate resources, as well as to promote a culture of mutual accountability, partnership and shared responsibility.

Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and the lack of hygiene claim the lives of an estimated 2.2 million children under the age of 5 every year. Of these deaths, 1.5 million are due to diarrhoea, the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease, said Dr. Neira.

The main UN-Water GLAAS recommendations are: greater political prioritization for sanitation and drinking-water, better resource targeting, strengthening of systems, and development of stronger partnerships at all levels.

A global partnership aimed at achieving universal and sustainable access to sanitation and drinking-water for all Sanitation and Water for All will involve the people who make decisions about investments, and who can change the outlook for the sector.

We firmly believe giving priority to sanitation and water and tracking our progress together will aid development and give new hope to countries who struggle to reach their poorest citizens, including vulnerable children, with these essential services, said Ms. Clarissa Brocklehurst, UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

Download full report [PDF, 24.80 Mb]

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With the support of
Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia / Diputación Foral de Bizkaia

Eusko Jaurlaritza / Gobierno Vasco