UK Government announces action on water and sanitation
UNICEF UK is today celebrating the recent
announcement from the UK and Netherlands Governments committing to promote a ‘global
framework for action’ on water and sanitation. The children’s
charity is celebrating this as a campaigning success after collecting thousands
of signatures from the UK public calling for this global framework and for the
Prime Minister to gain support for the global plan.
The new framework, announced at a meeting in New York yesterday, 24 September
2008, included the commitment to a high-level summit in 2009, development and
implementation of plans to meet the MDGs in 20 countries and the extra initial
budget of 100 million (euros) over five years.
Eva Watkinson Campaigns Officer for UNICEF UK said:
“This is good news. Despite the fact that disease spread by poor
sanitation is a leading cause of death in children, this issue has been overlooked
for many years. The announcement is a vital step forward in helping the 2.5
billion who currently live without basic sanitation. However, other countries
now need to get behind the global framework and deliver on their commitment
if access to sanitation is to be improved.”
Following the announcement, UNICEF UK joined the End Water Poverty coalition
to call for more to improve access to sanitation. The coalition wants developing
countries to be supported in developing national sanitation plans and donor
Governments to ensure that no credible plan will fail through lack of finance.
Every day, 5,000 children die and many more become ill because of diseases
spread by poor sanitation and unclean water. In 2000, as part of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), world leaders committed to halve the number of people
living without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015. On current
trends, the target to halve the proportion of people without access to sanitation
in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015 will not be reached until 2108.
Although progress has begun to slow down, the MDG target for water can still
be achieved. However, the sanitation target will be missed by more than 700
million people. UNICEF UK has been calling on Gordon Brown to take action on
sanitation. Earlier this week, UNICEF UK along with members of the End Water
Poverty coalition, presented a petition signed by over 70,000 people to the
UK Government at a fringe event of the labour party conference.
The new announcement was made yesterday at an event organised by the Governments
of Netherlands, Japan, Germany and Tajikistan and attended by the UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki Moon and the Governments of the UK, Spain, Tanzania, India, Bangladesh,
Madagascar, Thailand and Kazakhstan. It was held one day in advance of the UN-High
Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).