United Nations today reported that the goal of reducing by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water has been achieved.
The achievement is well ahead of the 2015 deadline for reaching the globally agreed development targets aimed at eliminating world’s extreme poverty, hunger and preventable diseases.
Between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells, according to a joint report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
Halving the number of people without access to clean drinking water is one of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Other MDG goals include ending extreme poverty, reducing child and maternal mortality rates, fighting diseases and establishing a global partnership for development.
“Today we recognize a great achievement for the people of the world.” – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The UN report is entitled ‘Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012.’ The report was produced by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation.
According to UN, at the end of 2010, some 89 per cent of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved drinking water sources, according to the report. That figure is one per cent more than the 88 per cent stated in the MDG targets.
The report estimates that by 2015, some 92 per cent of the global population will have access to improved drinking water.
“For children this is especially good news.” – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake
Mr. Lake cites that every day more than 3,000 children die from diarrhoeal diseases.
However, achieving this goal will go a long way to saving children’s lives, Mr. Lake added.
Mr. Lake cautioned that victory can not yet be declared because at least 11 per cent of the world’s population – 783 million people are still without access to safe drinking water, and billions live without sanitation facilities.
He says the numbers are still staggering.
However, Mr. Lake stated that the progress announced today is proof that MDG targets can be met with the will, the effort and the funds.
On March 2010, WHO/UNICEF reported that with 87 percent of the world’s population or approximately 5.9 billion people using safe drinking-water sources, the world is on track to meet or even exceed the drinking-water target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
The good news is that open defecation — the riskiest sanitation practice of all — is on the decline worldwide, with a global decrease from 25 percent in 1990 to 17 per cent in 2008, representing a decrease of 168 million people practicing open defecation since 1990.
Reports say unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene claim the lives of an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five each year. Lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene affects the health, security, livelihood and quality of life for children, impacting women and girls first and most.