UN designates World Toilet Day

We're excited to see World Toilet Day, on 19 November, officially recognised by the UN!

Jul 26 2013

The United Nations General Assembly has officially designated 19 November as World Toilet Day to help boost efforts to bring sanitation to all and end open defecation.

Fleur Anderson, WaterAid head of campaigns, 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 yet another UN day, but a strong sign that governments recognise that toilets for all is essential for saving children's lives.

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

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

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 towards 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 organizations all over the world. However, it was not formally recognized as an official UN day until today. It now has the same status as UN World Water Day, marked annually on 22 March.

Read more about this story on the UN website here >