WaterAid welcomes UN vote to declare 19 November World Toilet Day


30 Jul 2013 | AU

WaterAid Australia has welcomed the historic decision of the United Nations General Assembly to declare 19 November as World Toilet Day to help boost efforts to bring sanitation to all and end open defecation.

Adam Laidlaw, Chief Executive, WaterAid Australia, commented: “WaterAid welcomes this recognition of the global sanitation crisis, and the need for the UN and member states to take action. This is not just the creation of another UN day, but a sign that governments recognise that toilets for all are essential for saving children's lives.”

“2.5 billion people around the world lack access to safe sanitation. Around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. That's almost 2,000 children a day.”

“We'll certainly be working with others to use World Toilet day to draw attention to governments of the enormous scale of the problem.”

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson – former Chair of WaterAid Sweden, - also welcomed the declaration, saying: “This new annual observance will go a long way toward raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation.”

The General Assembly resolution was unanimously adopted on 24 July in New York and calls on UN Member States and partners to promote behaviour change and policies to increase access to sanitation for the poor, along with a call to end the practice of open defecation.

World Toilet Day has previously been marked by WaterAid and international and civil society organisations all over the world. However, it was not formally recognised as an official UN day until now.

About WaterAid

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 17.5 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 12.9 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org.au


Kirrily Johns: Kirrily.johns@wateraid.org.au or +61 (0)3 9001 8246