UNICEF says 2.4 billion people yet to access improved sanitation facilities

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Lagos –  The United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday said that 32 per cent (about 2.4 billion people) of the world’s population still lacked improved sanitation facilities.

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The assertion is contained in a statement by the UNICEF and e-mailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The statement said that 663 million people still could not access improved drinking water sources, causing diarrhoea diseases killing over 800 children less than five years daily.

According to the statement, the Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, safe, sustainable water, equitable sanitation and hygiene was the fund’s focus for children in the next 15 years.

“If we do not make progress on WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene), we will not reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and millions of children will not realise their right to grow up healthy and strong.

“So we need to invest more, better integrate our efforts across sectors and innovate to find new ways of reaching every child, every family and every community,’’ it quoted Lake as saying.

According to the statement, this is being discussed at the UNICEF lead talks on global access to water, sanitation and hygiene which opened on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The two-day meeting, under the aegis of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership, brings together, government ministers, representatives of development agencies, civil society, private sector and NGOs.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]

The statement said that these stakeholders would agree on a way to meet targets on universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene as called for in the SDG’s.

“Attendees will pin down what the sanitation, water and hygiene-related SDG targets meant for the sector and agree on a follow-up and review system.

“They will identify their different roles and responsibilities in achieving these targets, aiming at clear action plans and strategies to agree on how to work with related sectors such as health and nutrition,’’ it said.

Dr Mulatu Teshome, the President of Ethiopia, remarked that “Ethiopia stands ready to share its experiences on the ONE WASH National Programme through field visits to our urban WASH programmes and in meeting interactions.

“Ethiopia seeks to identify best practices that we can learn from other members of the SWA partnership,’’ it quoted the president as saying.

The SWA ministerial meeting brings together 40 ministers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and high-level representatives from development agencies, civil society organisations, research and learning institutions and private sector.

NAN reports that SWA is an established global, multi-stakeholder partnership with a vision of sanitation, hygiene and water for all, always and everywhere.

It has more than 100 partners drawn from governments, donors and development banks. (NAN)

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