World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


International Year Of Sanitation 2008: A Plea


By Anwulika Okafor

International Year of Sanitation 2008: A plea for dignity and health for all

Almost 2.6 billion people worldwide, 980 million of them children, lack access to even the most basic water and sanitation facilities - a situation that affects all aspects of their lives, from education to national development.

In a push to make adequate water and sanitation available to everyone, everywhere, His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman; Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo; and representatives of other UN agencies and partners came together today at United Nations headquarters in New York to launch the International Year of Sanitation 2008.

"I call on the international community, national governments and civil society to take up the cause of sanitation with unprecedented vigour," said Mr. Ban. "Let us make this a year of global achievement, one that generates real, positive changes for the billions of people who do not enjoy this basic ingredient of human welfare."

Sanitation for development

The International Year of Sanitation aims to focus the world's attention on the benefits of meeting Millennium Development Goal 7: to cut in half the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015.

The importance of adequate sanitation cannot be understated. Women and young girls are often made vulnerable to violence because the lack of latrines forces them to relieve themselves in unsafe areas or in darkness. In some areas, young girls do not go to school because there no lavatory facilities for them - affecting not only their education, but their dignity and self-esteem as well.

Worldwide, lack of access to proper sanitation is linked to the deaths of 1.5 million children each year.

"Children are the most vulnerable and they are the ones who continue to pay the highest price in terms of lives and futures lost," said Ms. Veneman.

"Children are at the heart of the MDGs, from reducing poverty to improving education to maternal and child health and establishing gender equality and environmental sustainability," she added. "Addressing sanitation will have positive impact on all of these goals."

The economics of change

In an impassioned speech, Prince Willem-Alexander - who chairs the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation - spoke about the economics behind the improvement of sanitation facilities for all.

Research has shown that for every dollar invested in sanitation, up to $34 more in health, education, and social and economic development costs can be saved, he said.

"That is why we, as policy makers, opinion leaders and stakeholders gathered here today, must make a supreme effort to make proper sanitation accessible and available to everyone," asserted Prince Willem-Alexander. "Because everyone, and that means all the people in the world, have the right to a healthy life with dignity."

One year may not be enough time to change the way the world thinks about sanitation, but those present at the launch of the International Year of Sanitation hoped to show that even the simplest actions can bring impressive results.

ENDS

More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news