WaterAid's reaction to UN development debate

We welcome the focus on off-track targets, but call for renewed efforts to reach everyone, everywhere with safe water and sanitation.

27 Sep 2013

On Wednesday, UN member states met in New York to discuss progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and consider what should come next when they expire in 2015. 

We welcome the focus on the most off-track targets, such as sanitation, but call for renewed efforts to reach everyone, everywhere with basic services – water, sanitation and hygiene. 

Speaking after the event, our Chief Executive, Barbara Frost, commented:
"It is most encouraging that world leaders at the UN have resolved to focus on the Millennium Development Goals that are most off-track, including the targets on increasing access to water and sanitation. With 2.5 billion people still lacking access to a toilet and 768 million without clean water to drink, progress towards dealing with this crisis will require increased efforts from the international community over the next two years.

"There is no doubt that the Millennium Development Goals have helped to galvanise historic progress. If we are to eliminate extreme poverty within a generation and bring about a better life for women and girls, we need to focus efforts on providing sustainable and affordable basic services, like water, sanitation and hygiene, to everyone, everywhere by 2030."

Raising awareness of water and sanitation

This week in New York, together with other members of the End Water Poverty coalition, we have been raising awareness of the vital importance of water and sanitation. End Water Poverty delivered a petition with over a million signatures to Jan Eliasson, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, calling on world leaders to keep their promises to increase access to water and sanitation, and commit to achieve universal access by 2030. 

WaterAid is calling on world leaders to accelerate progress on improving access to water and sanitation by 2015, to improve the health and livelihoods of women, girls and people in poverty. We have also recommended the adoption of a new Sustainable Development Goal that will help bring about a world where everyone, everywhere has safe water to drink, good hygiene and sanitation by 2030. 

With 800,000 children under the age of five dying from diarrhoeal diseases every year, a lack of access to water and sanitation is the second largest cause of child deaths globally. 

The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN earlier this month highlighted that sanitation is the most off-track of the Millennium Development Goal targets. At current rates of progress, Sub-Saharan Africa will miss the 2015 target by over 150 years. We believe this situation could be reversed with strong leadership, political will and effective, targeted donor investment.