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GLAAS Report 2010 launched

23.04.2010 - The Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) is a UN-Water initiative implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO). The objective of UN-Water GLAAS is to provide policy makers at all levels with a reliable, easily accessible, comprehensive and global analysis of the evidence to make informed decisions in sanitation and drinking-water.

With over 2.6 billion people living without access to improved sanitation facilities, and nearly 900 million people not receiving their drinking-water from improved water sources, UN-Water GLAAS highlights where efforts stagnate in achieving the Millennium Development Goal Target 7.C. -to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation. It also highlights the post-2015 challenges that need to be addressed by the United Nations system to collectively support its Member States.

The findings from the UN-Water GLAAS report were presented at the first annual High-Level Meeting of Sanitation and Water for All, hosted by UNICEF on 23 April 2010 in Washington, DC. The High Level Meeting provided a forum for Ministers of Finance from developing countries, accompanied by Ministers responsible for sanitation and water, and representatives from donor countries to gain a greater understanding of the linkages between water, sanitation, and economic growth, in order to commit the appropriate resources, as well as to promote a culture of mutual accountability, partnership and shared responsibility.

“Neglecting sanitation and drinking-water is a strike against progress. Without it, communities and countries will lose the battle against poverty and ill-health,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health and Environment.

Improved access to sanitation and water produces economic benefits that range from US$ 3 to US$ 34 per US$ 1 invested, increasing a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by an estimated 2% to 7%. “Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and the lack of hygiene claim the lives of an estimated 2.2 million children under the age of 5 every year. Of these deaths, 1.5 million are due to diarrhoea, the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease,” said Dr. Neira. “The impact of diarrhoeal disease in children under 15 is greater than the combined impact of HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis,” she added.

“This high level meeting represents a watershed in our sector. As a global partnership, Sanitation and Water for All will involve the people who make decisions about investments, and who can change the outlook for the sector. We firmly believe giving priority to sanitation and water and tracking our progress together will aid development and give new hope to countries who struggle to reach their poorest citizens, including vulnerable children, with these essential services,” said Ms. Clarissa Brocklehurst, UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

“UNICEF is delighted by the enthusiastic response we have had from invitees, and we look forward to a landmark first meeting with 35 ministers from twenty developing countries and twelve major donors,” she added. “UN-Water is proud that the GLAAS report will help drive change in the sector, and our members are poised to support the work of development partners and members states,” said Dr. Zafar Adeel, who chairs UN-Water, a group of 27 UN organizations working on various aspects of water.

Sanitation and Water for All is a global partnership aimed at achieving universal and sustainable access to sanitation and drinking-water for all, by firmly placing sanitation and water on the global agenda with an immediate focus on achieving the MDGs in the most off-track countries.