Based on input of experts from several countries convened in Canada late last year, the analysis urges governments to adopt a more coordinated, integrated and interlinked approach to dealing with water and sanitation problems. Such efforts must be included in national economic development plans.
The UNU analysis identifies population growth, poverty, climate change, globalization and inappropriate policies on investment, urbanization, and intensification of agriculture as the five global trends most likely to exacerbate water supply and sanitation problems in years to come.
"The UN's Millennium Development Goal, agreed in the year 2000, committed nations to halve by 2015 the number of people who lack safe water and adequate toilet facilities," says Dr. Adeel, who will chair the meeting.
"As the International Year of Sanitation winds down, UNU invites and welcomes the help of all scientists who agree we can and must do more," says Prof. Susan Elliott, a Senior Research Fellow at UNU-INWEH and a professor at McMaster University.
"Poor health, especially chronic illness, can force a household below the poverty threshold," the analysis says.
This becomes self-perpetuating as a poverty-stricken household is more prone to ill health. Low education levels and lack of knowledge further maintain this cycle, as understanding links between hygiene and waterborne diseases tend to come more easily to households with higher education levels.
The results are significant, especially for women and girls, improving household health, reducing the time spent to collect water and providing a safe and dignified environment for practising sanitation. This means that there is more time to tend to crops and livestock, more time and resources to spend on improved food preparation, more time to attend school and, an opportunity to participate
|Contact: Terry Collins|
United Nations University