World Water Day 2011: Call to Action for Investing in Urban Sanitation

To mark World Water Day on March, 22nd 2011, WSUP has released a ‘Call to Action’ [no longer available] in an attempt to mobilise the investments required for better sanitation for the world’s poor.

Why a call to action is needed

One billion people live in the world’s slums and informal urban settlements and for more than 400 million their daily defecation requires them to use either plastic bags or dirty and over-crowded shared latrine blocks or a variety of make-shift facilities.  The inappropriate disposal of human faeces creates serious risks to health and well being, to which women and children are often particularly vulnerable.  Poor sanitation arrangements are a major contributor to the daily stress of living that undermines the right of every person to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of themselves and their family and to a life with dignity.

The sanitation MDG3 will not be met and although urban sanitation coverage statistics are higher than rural, the urban figure aggregates both planned (higher income) and unplanned (lower income) areas thus masking the true picture for slum dwellers.  In urban areas high density living increases the risks of faecal  contamination of the environment where one person’s lack of sanitation can affect the health of many other people UN Habitat estimates that between 25% and 60% of urban dwellers in lower income countries are without adequate sanitation, Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia being especially deficient.  This situation will be exacerbated by the projected growth in urban populations.  It is anticipated that while the population of Africa will double, from 1 to 2 billion, between 2009 and 2050 the urban population will increase from 40% (395 million) to 60% (1.2 billion).

Read the full report here: Call to Action – Supporting sustainable slum sanitation – the case for more investment from IFIs and donors [no longer available]

About Andy Narracott

Urban water and sanitation professional. Programme Coordinator for the USAID African Cities for the Future Programme.
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