United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson today launched a call for urgent action to end the crisis of 2.5 billion people without basic sanitation, and to change a situation in which more people worldwide have mobile phones than toilets.
The call to action, which comes on the eve of World Water Day, aims to focus on improving hygiene, changing social norms, better managing human waste and waste-water, and, by 2025, completely eliminating the practice of open defecation, which perpetuates the vicious cycle of disease and entrenched poverty.
“I am determined to energize action that will lead to results,” said Mr. Eliasson. “I am calling on all actors – government, civil society, business and international organizations – to commit to measurable action and to mobilize the resources to rapidly increase access to basic sanitation.
“Let’s face it – this is a problem that people do not like to talk about. But it goes to the heart of ensuring good health, a clean environment and fundamental human dignity for billions of people – and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. With just over a thousand days for action before the 2015 MDG deadline, we have a unique window of opportunity to deliver a generational change.”