Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Ministers from almost 40 developing countries have set a new course of action towards achieving safe water, sanitation and hygiene for their every citizen in a shortest possible time.
The decision makers, who attended the second high level meeting of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) in Washington DC on Friday, agreed that more investments and policy focus were needed to improve the quality of life through universal access to WaSH, according to a massage.
The meeting, second of its kind and was held ahead of World Bank’s spring meetings of this week, brought together the donors and agencies with 69 ministers responsible for finance, sanitation and hygiene portfolios.
It comes against the backdrop of an announcement in March from UNICEF and the World Health Organization that the world had met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for improved drinking water sources, but many still lack safe water, while the target for improved sanitation is lagging far behind and will not be met at current rates of progress.
According to UNICEF, at least 2.5 billion cases of diarrhoea occur in children under five years of age every year, and an estimated 3,000 children die from it daily. The World Bank says huge savings in health care costs and gains in productive days can be realized by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
The economic gains to be made from investing in sanitation and water are estimated at US$ 170 billion per year. If everyone had access to adequate sanitation and water services, the world`s health sectors would save around $ 15 billion every year.
As opposed to the first high level meeting, the 2012 meeting was greatly expanded, with 40 countries took part, up from 18 in 2010.
The countries represented in second meeting were — Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, C”te d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao PDR, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
BBN/SSR/AD-21Apr12-8:30 pm (BST)