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Water and sanitation are first steps out of poverty

Responding to a report on the Post-2015 Development Goals, WaterAid emphasizes universal access to safe, clean water and sanitation.

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22 Jan 2013 | UKView an event slideshow

Responding to the International Development Committee (IDC) report on the Post-2015 Development Goals, WaterAid has called on governments to place universal access to safe, clean water and decent sanitation at the centre of the new international development framework.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said:

"It is in the UK's national interest to be at the heart of the debate on the new international poverty reduction goals, as these will play a huge part in shaping the world for our children and generations to come.

"Access to water, improved hygiene and sanitation are prerequisites to women’s empowerment and social and economic progress and are the first steps out of poverty.

"Over the last two decades the drive towards the Millennium Development Goals have helped 2 billion people get clean water to drink and 1.8 billion access to safe sanitation.

"Everyone has a right to these basic necessities of life and they need to be at the heart of the new framework. Universal coverage – safe clean water and decent sanitation is possible in the foreseeable future."

According to the latest figures, 783 million people (1 in 10 of the world’s population) lack access to clean drinking water, while 2.5 billion (over 1 in 3 people worldwide) lack access to safe sanitation.

While the global Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target on water was met in 2010, as the IDC report acknowledges around half the countries in sub-Saharan Africa are at current rates of progress not on track to meet their own national goal to half the proportion of people lacking access.

Again, as the IDC report notes, sanitation remains one of the most off-track of the MDG targets. The 2015 goal to halve the proportion of people living without sanitation is running over 150 years behind schedule in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the WHO, achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation would save 2.5 million lives every year.