Make Sanitation and Water for All a Reality
Pakistan is one of 57 countries currently most off-track to meet its sanitation MDG target to halve the proportion of people without access to adequate sanitation. On current trends Pakistan is due to halve the number of people lacking sanitation services by 2025, missing the MDG sanitation target by 10 years, according to a new report released today by the international aid agency WaterAid.
According to the latest figures released by UNICEF and the WHO, only 48% of the population has access to safe sanitation in Pakistan. The MDG target for Pakistan is 64% to have access to improved sanitation by 2015.
The report, Saving Lives, comes as 70 finance and sector ministers from governments around the world including Pakistan prepare to attend the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting on the 20th of April in Washington DC.
Siddiq Khan, Country Representative of WaterAid in Pakistan, said:
“The Washington meeting is crucial to turning a corner on providing essential life saving access to safe sanitation and water. Our government and the international community must grasp this opportunity to act in response to the crisis of lost lives.”
The WaterAid report also says that the lives of 2.5 million people around the world would be saved if everyone had access to safe water and adequate sanitation. According to the report “there are more people in the world today without sanitation than there were in 1990”, and “the poor quality of sanitation and lack of access to safe drinking water causes 1.4 million child deaths every year due to diarrhoea, and these deaths are preventable”.
The government of Pakistan acknowledged the sanitation crisis in South Asia at the fourth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) in April 2011 and again at the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in November.
Abdul Hafeez, Programme Manager Policy and Advocacy of WaterAid in Pakistan said:
“The 2012 HLM provides an opportunity to reinforce commitments made in 2010 and recent regional forums. “We are urging the government to honour its commitments to improving water and sanitation and to demonstrate leadership by: targeting resources to poor and marginalised people, developing robust monitoring systems to ensure the effectiveness of investments and to promote learning and innovation.”
Mr. Hafeez also urged donors to prioritise and engage in basic sanitation. This is only possible by developing strong partnership with governments, donors, civil society and communities.
The Sanitation and Water for All meeting in Washington on 20th April will bring together 100 ministers and delegates from over 50 countries to discuss the water and sanitation crisis. Participating governments have to bring pledges to the table on increasing access to water and sanitation for the next two years; donor governments also have to provide commitments ahead of the meeting.