With 87 per cent of the world’s population or approximately 5.9 billion people using safe drinking-water sources, the world is on track to meet or even exceed the drinking-water target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), according to the new WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report titled: "Progress on Sanitation and Drinking- Water: 2010 Update Report".
The JMP report presents the current status and trends in 209 countries or territories towards reaching the drinking-water and sanitation MDG target, along with an assessment as to what these trends reveal.
To date, it provides the clearest picture of the current use of improved sanitation facilities and improved sources of drinking-water throughout the world. The report is aimed to be used by policy-makers, donors, governmental and nongovernmental agencies to decide what needs to be done and where to focus their efforts to achieve these goals.
"We all recognize the vital importance of water and sanitation to human health and well-being and their role as an engine of development. The question now lies in how to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDG targets and most importantly how to leap a step further to ultimately achieve the vision of universal access," said Dr Maria Neira, WHO's Director for the Department of Public Health and Environment.
Despite the world’s population being almost equally divided between urban and rural dwellers, the vast majority without access to water and sanitation live in rural areas. Seven out of ten people without basic sanitation are rural inhabitants and more than eight out of ten people without access to improved drinking-water sources live in rural areas.
”With almost 884 million people living without access to safe drinking-water and approximately three times that number lacking basic sanitation we must act now as one global community to ensure water and sanitation for all,” said Ms. Clarissa Brocklehurst, UNICEF Chief of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).