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Sanitation MDG Will Not Be Met At Current Rate Of Progress, U.N. Report Says

“While international targets on clean drinking water were met nearly three years ago, a joint United Nations agency report [on Monday warned] that without a major funding push, some 2.4 billion people — one-third of the world’s population — will remain without access to improved sanitation in 2015,” the U.N. News Centre reports. Compiled by the WHO and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation, the report (.pdf), titled “Progress on sanitation and drinking-water 2013 update,” “warns that, at the current rate of progress, the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of the 1990 population without sanitation will be missed by eight percent — or half a billion people,” the news service writes (5/13).

“Bruce Gordon, the acting coordinator for water, sanitation and health at the [WHO], said Monday’s report was published as a wake-up call,” VOA News states, adding, “Gordon said the impact of poor sanitation has major impacts on global health, education, and economies.” Gordon said, “A big, huge benefit for us is health. We have 1.5 million people dying every year because of inadequate sanitation or lack of access to safe water or proper hygiene,” the news service reports, noting “Gordon cited the most problematic regions by far as being Asia and sub-Saharan Africa” (Hennessy, 5/13). “The report echoes the urgent call to action by United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson for the world community to combine efforts and end open defecation by 2025,” a WHO press release states, adding, “With less than three years to go to reach the MDG deadline, WHO and UNICEF call for a final push to meet the sanitation target” (5/13).