WaterAid meets with the UN


25 Mar 2013 | AU

WaterAid is calling on international leaders gathered in Bali to support a call for the setting of an ambitious target for providing access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone by 2030.

The UN High Level Panel on the post 2015 development framework is having its last meeting in Bali, Indonesia on 25 March. The panel is responsible for developing a new vision to guide international development efforts beyond the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015.

WaterAid’s new report ‘Everyone Everywhere’ launched by High Level Panel Co-Chair and Nobel Prize Winner, President Sirleaf Johnson, sets out a vision for making safe water and sanitation available to all and reviews the progress that has been made to date in tackling water and sanitation poverty.

Writing the foreword to the WaterAid report, President Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia stated:

Addressing the global water and sanitation crisis is not about charity, but opportunity. According to the World Health Organisation, every $1 invested in water and sanitation produces an average of $4 in increased productivity. It enables sustainable and equitable economic growth. In short, it will not be possible to make progress in eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and securing sustainable economic development in the future without improving access.

The report finds that, despite reaching the MDG for access to water in March 2010, lack of progress in improving access to sanitation and hygiene is acting as a brake on progress in economic and human development particularly in child health, nutrition and education. More than 2.4 billion people will still lack access to basic sanitation facilities in 2015 if progress is made at the same rate. This means it will take at least 53 years to achieve universal access.

Adam Laidlaw, CEO of WaterAid Australia, speaking in Bali said:

We have made progress improving access to clean water but the huge unfinished business of sanitation demands new ways of working and new forms of partnership to accelerate progress post-2015.
Getting water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone by 2030 is a realistic goal which the international community should now support. WASH is essential for progress in many other areas of development such as health, education, nutrition, gender equality and economic growth. We cannot eradicate poverty without it.

South Asian economies could gain $50 billion every year from everyone having access to water and sanitation. Of this $3.8 billion would come from reduced healthcare costs; $9.5 billion could be gained from reduced mortality; $2.5 billion from less time taken off from work; and a staggering $35 billion in general time saved.

The benefits for South Asia in lives saved from everyone having access to water and sanitation on the continent are also significant. It is estimated by the Institute of Health Metrics that around 710,000 people die of diarrhoea diseases every year in South Asia, 88% of these deaths, according to the World Health Organisation, can be attributed to a lack of water, sanitation and hygiene, that equates to 625,000 deaths due to a lack of these services.

To tackle this problem now, WaterAid is calling on the international community to:

  1. Ensure the post-2015 development framework reflects the central contribution of water, sanitation and hygiene to other areas of poverty reduction, including health, education, nutrition, gender equality, economic growth and sustainability;
  2. Support calls to include a goal on universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030 within the post-2015 development framework;
  3. Lead a concerted effort to tackle the unfinished business of the sanitation MDG and` accelerate future rates of progress on water, sanitation and hygiene as an essential foundation for eradicating poverty