WaterAid takes water and sanitation campaign to the UN

WaterAid staff are making your voice heard at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York

24 Sep 2013

WaterAid staff from across the world will be talking to decision-makers this week at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to secure greater political prioritisation of clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene.

There are little more than two years to go before the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire. This year's UNGA is therefore focused on taking stock and deciding how to accelerate progress on targets that are off-track, such as sanitation. Official discussion will also explore what comes after the 2015 deadline (known as the post-2015 process).

With over 2.5 billion people living without access to a safe toilet, it is crucial that sanitation is given attention in the MDG discussions and the post-2015 process.

WaterAid staff are attending a series of events at UNGA to call for UN member states to increase their efforts in tackling the unfinished business of the sanitation MDG target. They'll also be calling for country delegations to recognise that ending poverty through the post-2015 process is only possible if we ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene.

We will be keeping you updated with highlights and developments over the next week, so please check back to this page regularly and stay up to date by following @wateraid on Twitter, as well as the hashtag #everyone2030.

Read our outcome statement press release here

Wednesday 25 September: 

Leaving New York – The hard work starts now

Wednesday was the key date of this UN General Assembly opening session for development advocates. Member states held a special debate on how to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). And, crucially, they began discussions on what should follow the MDGs when they finish in 2015.

While in New York, WaterAid has been busy advocating for greater political prioritisation of water and sanitation, and for agreement that we should be working towards a single post-2015 framework that is both bold and ambitious in what it will cover. We were pleased to see the agreed outcome statement for the day addressed both of these calls. You can read more about our reaction here.

There's much to be done if these words are to be translated into action. With our partners, we must continue to focus on holding governments to account for making real progress towards the most off-track MDGs. And we must also push for agreement on a post-2015 framework that ensures everyone, everywhere can gain access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

The hard work starts now, but we leave New York feeling positive and, crucially, with a clear statement of intent for the post-2015 framework.

You can continue to follow our work on the MDGs and Post-2015 on Twitter, and also in our post-2015 website section. Thank you for helping us get this far.

Tuesday 24 September:


Discussing women and water post-2015

Today at the UN General Assembly in New York, WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost discussed access to water and sanitation for women and girls with the UK Department for International Development and USAID.

As well as reviewing progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, they looked to the future after the MDGs expire in 2015.

Access to clean water and sanitation is especially important for woman and girls, as they typically bear the burden of collecting water. They face fear, harassment and even physical violence when walking long distances, often in the dark, to collect water or find a place to defecate.

The need to reach women and girls with clean water and sanitation is highlighted in our new Post-2015 toolkit. This resource explains why water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are critical to any post-2015 framework.

You don't need to be in New York to join the discussions:

Monday 23 September:

WaterAid CEO Barbara Frost in New York: Sanitation is everyone's business

Barbara Frost at the UNToday, WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost addressed over 600 heads of state, civil society representatives and private sector leaders.

She told the audience that while the successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should be celebrated, member states should focus on those goals most off-track, especially the sanitation MDG target.

Barbara reminded world leaders that 2.5 billion people still lack a decent toilet, with one billion defecating in the open. She said that diarrhoea remains the second leading cause of preventable child deaths.

The WaterAid CEO was in New York at the invite of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, at a panel session on the role of partnerships in delivering the MDGs. She called for existing partnerships to increase their ambition and backed the Deputy Secretary General's Call to Action and the Sanitation and Water for All partnership.

She left the audience with one simple message: if we're truly committed to eradicating extreme poverty, then we must recognise that sanitation is everyone's business.

Sunday 22 September:

Sanitation crisis hits New York

This weekend, New Yorkers showed solidarity with the one million people who have so far supported the Keep Your Promises petition. Symbolic toilet queues were formed across the city to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis. See photos of the queues at the bottom of this page.

As the UN General Assembly met to discuss progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), New Yorkers demanded that UN member states meet their commitments on sanitation and water. They called for these basic rights to be given a prominent role in the post-2015 process.

Friday 20 September:

The preparations are over, WaterAid is at the UN General Assembly

Delegations from around the world are heading to New York today, Friday, for the UN General Assembly (UNGA). We'll be there to ask them to ensure everyone, everywhere has clean water and sanitation by 2030.

In the run up to the UNGA, WaterAid supporters, staff and partners have been busy promoting the Keep Your Promises petition which recently hit the one million signatures mark!

And today, WaterAid Nigeria and its civil society partners handed in nearly 20,000 signatures to the Nigerian Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Reng Ochepke – a clear message that water, sanitation and hygiene must be prioritised.

Before the UK delegation left for New York, WaterAid supporter David Gardiner met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and handed in a petition on behalf of 79,000 fellow supporters. View photos of David handing in the petition.

The global Keep Your Promises petition will be handed in at the UN on Monday. To stay up to date, bookmark this page or follow us on Twitter.