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Water & Sanitation

Water and Sanitation Urged as Focal Points at Addis Ababa

A woman carries a container of water in San Mateo, Guatemala. Credit: UN Photo/Antoinette Jongen

A woman carries a container of water in San Mateo, Guatemala. Credit: UN Photo/Antoinette Jongen

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 10 2015 (IPS) - Ahead of the all-important International Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, a top water charity has called upon world leaders to prioritise programmes for water, sanitation and good hygiene, so that no one is left behind.

WaterAid’s new report, ‘Essential Element’, identifies 45 high-priority countries which have been left behind in financing for water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.

In a statement, WaterAid Director of Global Policy and Campaigns, Margaret Batty, said, “As government representatives from around the world travel to Addis Ababa, they have a once-in-a-generation chance to tackle extreme poverty and help more children grow up to reach their full potential.

“Safe water and basic toilets create healthier communities, and spare women and girls their long and difficult journeys to fetch water and the indignity and insecurity of having to find a private place to relieve themselves when there is no toilet.”

In each of the 45 high-priority countries identified by WaterAid, half or more of the population does not have a basic, safe place to defecate – polluting the water supply and general environment. As a result their citizens are at high risk of contracting waterborne diseases as well as pandemic illnesses.

The report calls for countries to “look ahead at the challenges that will have a major impact on delivering universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene”, including inequalities between countries, climate change and stress on water resources.

The report demonstrates that for many countries, aid will be a vital international resource to support the achievement of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

When world leaders gather in the Ethiopian capital on Monday, July 13, to hash out the Addis Accord, it is critical they include a strong focus on equity and sustainability of services, says WaterAid. According to the charity, this must incorporate action to address financial absorption and human resource constraints.

The Addis conference will bring together thousands of politicians, lobbyists, policymakers and businesses for five days, in the first of three 2015 summits to work out where money will come from to fund development processes beginning this year. The new U.N. Sustainable Development Goals are to be finalised in New York this September.

Currently, roughly 1,400 children die around the world every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. More than 660 million people are without safe water, and nearly 2.4 billion are without adequate sanitation, or one in three in the world.

Edited by Kitty Stapp

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