Date Published: 25 September 2008

UK Government announces action on water and sanitation

UNICEF UK is today celebrating the recent announcement from the UK and Netherlands Governments committing 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 yesterday, 24 September 2008, 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 the announcement, UNICEF UK joined the End Water Poverty coalition to call for more 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.

Although progress has begun to slow down, the MDG target for water can still be achieved. However, the sanitation target will be missed by more than 700 million people. UNICEF UK has been calling on Gordon Brown to take action on sanitation. Earlier this week, UNICEF UK along with members of the End Water Poverty coalition, presented a petition signed by over 70,000 people to the UK Government at a fringe event of the labour party conference.

The new announcement was made yesterday at an event organised by the Governments of Netherlands, Japan, Germany and Tajikistan and attended by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and the Governments of the UK, Spain, Tanzania, India, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Thailand and Kazakhstan. It was held one day in advance of the UN-High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Source: UNICEF Main Website.
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