Date Published: 4 November 2008

Million of people to gain access to safe water and sanitation

25 million people across Africa could gain access to safe water and basic sanitation in the next five years due to a new policy launched last week by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID). The new policy echoes some of UNICEF’s campaign calls and includes a commitment from DFID to provide £1 billion for water and sanitation projects over the next five years.

This announcement follows the recent UN MDG high level meeting which took place in New York at the end of September. UNICEF UK celebrated news from the event that the UK and Netherlands Governments would commit to promote a ‘global framework for action’ on water and sanitation. The children’s charity is celebrating this as a campaigning success after collecting thousands of signatures from the UK public calling for this global framework and for the Prime Minister to gain support for the global plan.

The new framework, announced at a meeting in New York included the commitment to a high-level summit in 2009, development and implementation of plans to meet the MDGs in 20 countries and the extra initial budget of 100 million (euros) over five years.

Eva Watkinson Campaigns Officer for UNICEF UK said:

“This is good news. Despite the fact that disease spread by poor sanitation is a leading cause of death in children, this issue has been overlooked for many years. The announcement is a vital step forward in helping the 2.5 billion who currently live without basic sanitation. However, other countries now need to get behind the global framework and deliver on their commitment if access to sanitation is to be improved.

Following these announcements, UNICEF UK joined the End Water Poverty coalition to call for more international action to improve access to sanitation. The coalition wants developing countries to be supported in developing national sanitation plans and donor Governments to ensure that no credible plan will fail through lack of finance. Every day, 5,000 children die and many more become ill because of diseases spread by poor sanitation and unclean water.

In 2000, as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), world leaders committed to halve the number of people living without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015. On current trends, the target to halve the proportion of people without access to sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015 will not be reached until 2108 and although the MDG target on water can still be achieved progress has begun to slow done.


Source: UNICEF Main Website.
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