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Dozens of countries off track for realising human right to water and sanitation

WaterAid has used United Nations data to predict when each country will complete the job of providing everyone with clean water and a decent toilet, and the results of the analysis show there is much room for improvement.

The analysis showed that a significant number of people in 80 countries worldwide will still be drinking hazardous water in 2030, with those in 107 countries still not able to access decent sanitation facilities.

WaterAid Australia Director of Policy and Programs Tom Muller said it is disappointing to see the global opportunity present for water and sanitation rights being squandered.

“For nations to be years off track in meeting the human right to water and sanitation is shocking,” Muller said.

From 6-19 July, world leaders will come together at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to review the progress that has been made on Sustainable Development Goal 6.

“The meeting of ministers at HLPF must result in more than just words of encouragement because we have only 12 years left to keep the promise made to those living without clean water or a decent toilet,” Muller said.

Muller said that in order for all countries to make water and sanitation rights a reality, governments must start prioritising water and sanitation goals, and invest enough money to implementing those goals.

“Governments must prioritise water, sanitation and hygiene – the basic building blocks of any stable and prosperous community – ensuring proper financing is put in place to build a more sustainable country today and for future generations,” he said.

“We are at a critical juncture in the fight to get clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene to every person around the world, so that we can help end the scourge of extreme poverty and create a more sustainable future for all.”

One child dies every two minutes from diarrhoea caused by dirty water, poor sanitation and bad hygiene. Yet on current progress the world will fail to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 pledge to bring safe water and toilets to everyone, everywhere by 2030.

Muller said that the global water and sanitation problem is complicated, but the reasons for tackling it are clear and very simple.

“Every day that someone lives without being able to drink clean water, use a toilet that doesn’t pollute their community or wash their hands is a day when their human rights are breached, their futures limited and children put at risk of fatal waterborne diseases,” Muller said.

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