Given the fact that the investment of large sums of money over the past decade has provided access to clean drinking water for over one billion people for the first time, the science academies indicate in their statement on "Water and Health" that, in the same period, much less has been done to improve sanitation for these people. Around 40 percent of the world's population still lack access to adequate sanitation, and 20 percent of the global population do not have access to a toilet connected to a wastewater system, which results in an additional 300 million tons of untreated human excreta polluting vital drinking water resources every year. The academies point out that diarrhoea-related diseases kill more children under the age of five than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. The majority of these cases are due to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
The academies strongly recommend politicians to regard access to drinking water and sanitation as a unity, in accordance with the Millennium Goals of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The G8 states should work towards ensuring that people all over the world have access not only to drinking water of acceptable quality, but also to basic sanitation. This involves providing technical support and training local technicians, supporting researchers developing vaccines against waterborne pathogens, and local capacity-building initiatives to increase awareness for improved hygiene standards.
Every year since the G8 Summit of Heads of State and Government in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005, the national academies of the G8 states Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United
|Contact: Caroline Wichmann|