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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Urges Sanitation Be at Heart of Post-2015 Dev Framework

Sat, 09Nov2013

Press Release

In Message for World Toilet Day, Secretary-General Urges that Sanitation Be at Heart of Post-2015 Development Framework

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World Toilet Day, observed on 19 November:

Each year, more than 800,000 children under five die needlessly from diarrhoea — more than one child a minute.  Countless others fall seriously ill, with many suffering long-term health and developmental consequences.  Poor sanitation and hygiene are the primary cause.  Worldwide, some 2.5 billion people lack the benefits of adequate sanitation.  More than 1 billion people practise open defecation.  We must break the taboos and make sanitation for all a global development priority.

This first official observance by the United Nations of World Toilet Day is an opportunity to highlight this important topic.  Sanitation is central to human and environmental health.  It is essential for sustainable development, dignity and opportunity.  Poor water and sanitation cost developing countries around $260 billion a year — 1.5 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP).  On the other hand, every dollar invested can bring a five-fold return by keeping people healthy and productive.  When schools offer decent toilets, 11 per cent more girls attend.  When women have access to a private latrine, they are less vulnerable to assault.

Despite the compelling moral and economic case for action on sanitation, progress has been too little and too slow.  That is why I launched a Call to Action on Sanitation this year to end open defecation by 2025 and build on existing efforts, such as Sanitation and Water for All and the Sanitation Drive to 2015, the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

We are a long way from achieving the MDG target of reducing by half the proportion of people lacking adequate sanitation.  We must urgently step up our efforts, with all actors working together for rapid, tangible results.  And, as we look beyond 2015, it is essential that sanitation is placed at the heart of the post-2015 development framework.  The solutions need not be expensive or technology driven.  There are many successful models that can be replicated and scaled up.  We must also work to educate at-risk communities and change cultural perceptions and long-standing practices that have no place in our modern world.

By working together — and by having an open and frank discussion on the importance of toilets and sanitation — we can improve the health and well-being of one third of the human family.  That is the goal of World Toilet Day.

Learn more  at the World Toilet Day Site:

What is World Toilet Day ?

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World Toilet Day is observed annually on 19 November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.

Can you imagine not having a toilet? Can you imagine not having privacy when you need to relieve yourself? Although unthinkable for those living in wealthy parts of the world, this is a harsh reality for many – in fact, one in three people on this globe, does not have access to a toilet! Have you ever thought about the true meaning of dignity?

World Toilet Day was created to pose exactly these kind of questions and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people face. World Toilet Day brings together different groups, such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets. Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day has become an important platform to demand action from governments and to reach out to wider audiences by showing that toilets can be fun and sexy as well as vital to life.  more…

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