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Meeting MDG Safe Water Target Cause For Celebration, But More Work Remains To Bring Access To All

The achievement of meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for safe drinking water “shows that where there is a will, it is possible to truly transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people for the better,” Sanjay Wijesekera, chief of water, sanitation and hygiene for UNICEF, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” “Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where progress towards achieving the target is off-track, 273 million additional people gained access to drinking water since 1990,” he writes, adding, “So, we should raise our hats to the governments, organizations, communities and individuals who put great effort and resources into making this happen.”

“However, 783 million people still do not have access to drinking water, this most basic human right. … In addition, the other part of the same millennium development goal target — relating to access to adequate sanitation — is still off track,” Wijesekera writes. “In April, UNICEF and the World Bank are convening a meeting of finance ministers from developing countries and ministers of development cooperation from donor countries on behalf of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership to prioritize drinking water and sanitation,” he notes, concluding, “This is a huge opportunity for many more countries to move from stagnation or incremental progress to transformational change in less than a generation. It can be done” (3/6).