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4000 children die every day from diarrhoea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.

Global target for drinking water is reached – yet millions are still waiting

New UN figures show that the world has met the Millennium Development Goal for water, but 783 million people are still missing out.

Clean water in Malawi
Making clean water flow

6 March 2012

International civil society campaign End Water Poverty today welcomed the news that the Millennium Development Goal for clean drinking water has been reached. This is a huge achievement and comes after years of campaigning by End Water Poverty members across the globe.

However, with 783 million people still facing a daily struggle for water, there’s still a long way to go. Millions of women and children still walk for hours every day to fetch water for their basic needs, meaning children miss out on education and women have less time to engage in economic activities.

Furthermore, even though this water target has been reached, the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation is hugely off-track. An incredible 2.5 billion people, that’s equivalent to over one in three of the world’s population, still lack access to a clean, safe toilet - At current rates of progress, it will be over two centuries until the MDG target is reached in Sub-Saharan Africa.  With diarrhoeal diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation now the biggest killer of children in Africa, increased progress is urgently needed.

The announcement comes six weeks before world leaders meet in Washington DC to discuss how they will get taps and toilets to the world’s poorest people. The 2nd High Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership will take place on 20th April 2012 and represents a crucial milestone in tackling the water and sanitation crisis.

 In the run up to the meeting hundreds of thousands of people across the world will take part in World Walks for Water and Sanitation, a global event demanding political action on water and sanitation. The walks will take place from 17-25 March to coincide with World Water Day and walkers will call on their national politicians to attend the High Level meeting and take decisive action to prioritise water and sanitation, and better target aid to reach those who need it most.  

Sarah Blakemore, International Coordinator of End Water Poverty, said “Whilst reaching the water MDG is a cause for celebration, there is still a lot more work to do to ensure sanitation and water for all people in all countries across the world.”

Download our full press release here. (DOC File DOC File 97KB)