Third of Global Population do not Use Safely Managed Drinking Water Services: UNESCO DG
Paris – Nearly a third of the global population do not use safely managed drinking water services and only two fifths have access to safely managed sanitation services, Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said in a message on the occasion of World Water Day.
“Access to safe water is a human right and – along with access to sanitation facilities – drives forward development,” she pointed out.
That is why the theme of this year’s World Water Day is “leaving no-one behind”, echoing the bold promises of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, she added.
This aspiration to reach even the most vulnerable is increasingly important: the intensification of environmental degradation, climate change, population growth and rapid urbanisation – among other factors – pose considerable challenges to water security, Azoulay noted.
Nevertheless, water and sanitation can significantly contribute to the achievement of the broad set of goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: from food and energy security, to economic development and environmental sustainability, she said.
Given the wide-ranging impact of access to water, this year’s, United Nations World Water Development Report – published by UNESCO, in collaboration with the whole UN Water Family – focuses on the theme of tackling the barriers to water access, particularly for the most disadvantaged.
The report advocates for a boost to international political will to reach those marginalised and to tackle the existing inequalities – whether they be socio-economic, gender-based, due to the particular challenges of urban or rural settings, or any other factor.
This need for increased international solidarity is especially prominent in certain regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where access to basic services such as water supply and sanitation, remains largely limited, she said.
In an increasingly globalised world, the impact of water-related decisions crosses borders and affects everyone, therefore advocating for a comprehensive water governance, Azoulay pointed out.
This World Water Day, UNESCO reaffirms its commitment to support governments in their efforts towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation for all, without discrimination, she added.
By prioritizing those most in need, we can build more resilient communities, more equal societies and a more peaceful, sustainable world, Azoulay said.