18.11.2019 - Natural Sciences Sector

Toilets, health and human dignity

Today, 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation, 673 million still practice open defecation and 3 billion lack basic handwashing facilities. This sanitation crisis means untreated human waste is spreading diseases into water supplies and the food chain for billions of people. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 432,000 diarrheal deaths every year.

The theme of World Toilet Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’, which is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This is also the theme of the World Water Development Report 2019, launched in March 2019, which reinforces the commitments made by the UN member states in recognizing the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, both of which are essential for eradicating poverty and for building prosperous, peaceful societies. Exclusion, discrimination, entrenched power asymmetries, poverty and material inequalities are among the main obstacles in fulfilling the human rights to water and sanitation and achieving the water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Globally, the world is off track to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 to ensure sanitation and water for all and to eliminate open defecation and ensure everyone has access to sustainable sanitation services by 2030, “paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”. Poor and marginalized people are much more likely to lack safely managed sanitation services and often face many forms of discrimination.

On World Toilet Day, we remind the international community that we must leave no one behind as we must expand access to safe toilets, because a toilet is not just a toilet.

It’s a life-saver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker.

On occasion of World Toilet Day, UNESCO WWAP participates to the webinar organized by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) on the theme “Leaving No One Behind”, highlighting the main findings of the WWDR 2019 on sanitation services.

Download the PPT of the webinar

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