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UN-Water coordinates the United Nations awareness campaigns on freshwater and sanitation. Campaigns are led by one or more Member(s) on behalf of UN-Water with the support of other Members, Partners, Programmes and relevant stakeholders.

World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater and is coordinated by one or more Member(s) on behalf of UN-Water.

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Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk sexual harrassment and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.

19 November was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as the World Toilet Day in a resolution of 24 July 2013. The objective is to make sanitation for all a global development priority and urge changes in both behaviour and policy on issues ranging from improving water management to ending open-air defecation.

World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders. 

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The 'Water for Life' Decade aims to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015. Focus is on furthering cooperation at all levels, so that the water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit for Sustainable Development, and Agenda 21 can be achieved.

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The Sanitation Drive to 2015 is an advocacy campaign working to meet the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target and end open defecation. It supports and inspires people from around the world to take action towards achieving sanitation and hygiene for all by targeting the poorest and most vulnerable people. These actions will generate substantial benefits, including increased economic growth and productivity, improved health, enhanced social equity, and a cleaner environment.

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Last update:05 Nov 2014