19 November: Celebrate World Toilet Day!
19 November has been formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as World Toilet Day.
World Toilet Day has been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world for many years. However, it was not formally recognized as an official UN day until a UNGA resolution of 24 July 2013, which requested UN-Water, in consultation with relevant entities of the United Nations system and in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders, to facilitate the implementation of World Toilet Day in the context of Sanitation for All.
The objective of this initiative 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 defecation.
Today, 2.5 of the world's seven billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation and 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open. This has significant impacts on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest mortality rate of children under five, high levels of undernutrition and poverty, and large wealth disparities.
World Toilet Day intends to raise awareness of sanitation issues – including hygiene promotion, the provision of basic sanitation services, and sewerage and wastewater treatment and reuse in the context of integrated water management – and make a case for sanitation for all. It intends to encourage UN Member States and relevant stakeholders, including civil society and non-governmental organizations, to promote behavioural change and the implementation of policies in order to increase access to sanitation among the poor and end the practice of open defecation.