World leaders on Friday discussed plans to expand sustainable access for water, sanitation and hygiene, focusing in particular on how to reach those in remote rural areas and slums where development projects have been slow to penetrate.
When the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their deadline in 2015, there will still be a critical setback: millions of people in the developing world without full access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and electricity in their homes.
The United Nations has a longstanding tradition of commemorating political milestones - like the abolition of the slave trade - or sustaining day-long vigils on controversial issues such as a ban on nuclear tests.
Just 17 years from now, nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity, with demand outstripping supply by 40 percent.
Since food and water are so closely interlinked, there is a lingering fear based on the assumption, if there is no water, there will be no food.
About 20 communities in Tillabéri, west Niger, have been declared open defecation-free zones as across the country, very few people have access to proper sanitation.