LONDON, United Kingdom, 17 April 2014-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- A group of Sub-Saharan African leaders have pledged to work harder to reach 325 million people on the continent without safe water and 644 million without basic toilets.
Nigeria has committed to end open defecation and achieve universal access to water and sanitation by 2025.
Between 2014 and 2016, Nigeria will focus on increasing political prioritization and mobilization of financial and human resources for scaling up of successful models such as Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) towards realizing the overall vision of the sector. Within the framework of integrated WASH delivery, emphasis will be on prioritizing provision of services to ensure that all un-served population and vulnerable groups are reached; and systems put in place to ensure sustainability. This is in-line with national priorities and the principles of inclusiveness on provision of basic services towards improving the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
The pledges came as representatives of more than 50 governments gathered in Washington, DC on Friday, 11 April for the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting, opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opened the 11 April meeting with warnings that the crisis in water and sanitation will hold back efforts to eradicate poverty.
“Achieving sanitation and water for all may not be cost-free – but it will set people free. Access to sanitation and water means a child free of disease, a woman free of the back-breaking chore to fetch water, a girl free to attend school without fear, a village free of cholera, and a world of greater equality and dignity for all,” he said.
WaterAid, a founding partner in the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, welcomed the commitments.
“WaterAid welcomes the pledges African governments have made at the High Level Meeting to provide safe water and basic toilets. What is crucial now will be action to deliver those promises. One thousand children in Sub-Saharan Africa die every day from this health crisis. Safe water, basic toilets and proper hand-washing with soap can save those lives,” said Barbara Frost, WaterAid Chief Executive.
New data from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) on Water Supply and Sanitation show the massive and growing inequalities in access to safe water and toilets around the world: 748 million globally without safe water and 2.5 billion without proper sanitation. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there remain 325 million without safe water and 644 million without basic sanitation.
Of the 1 billion people around the world still practicing open defecation, 227 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa; 9 in 10 of them live in rural areas.
Safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene can prevent illness and make a community healthier and more productive. They can also prevent infant and child mortality, improve rates of education, and prevent the vulnerability that comes when women and girls tasked with fetching water must walk long distances to do so, or when they do not have a safe place to relieve themselves.
“This crisis has had a devastating impact on Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy, development, and families. But sanitation is now recognised as essential in ending extreme poverty. Our challenge is to reach our poorest and most excluded and ensure that everyone’s right to water and sanitation is met in our lifetime. These pledges from African governments are a big step towards realising a healthier and more prosperous future for our continent,” said Nelson Gomonda, pan-African programme manager for WaterAid.
In total, government ministers from 44 developing countries made 265 commitments to increase access to water and sanitation, including promises to address massive inequalities in access, including between urban and rural residents, rich and poor, and among ethnic groups and regions.
WaterAid has made its own commitments toward a vision of reaching everyone, everywhere by 2030 with safe water and sanitation, as a founding partner in the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership of more than 90 country governments, donors, civil society organisations and other development partners.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of WaterAid.
For more information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Carolynne Wheeler, Media Officer, +44 (0)7903 117715, firstname.lastname@example.org;
HratcheKoundarjian, News Manager, +44 (0)207 793 4909, hratchekoundarjian@wateraid.
The official Nigerian commitments can be found here: http://bit.ly/1tcJ0Fh
Download pictures: http://assetbank.wateraid.org/
assetbank-wateraid/images/ assetbox/dbc443d8-e5bb-4058- 8618-e0a777f4abc7/assetbox. html
Notes to Editors
WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 26 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 19.2 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 15.1 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @wateraidUK on Twitter or visit us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/wateraid