The Human Impact

UN 2015 development goals must tackle open defecation -expert

(Contains offensive language in paragraph 15)

Experts have crafted tentative development goals to improve sanitation for the 1.1 billion people who are forced to practise open defecation due to poor water supplies, a lack of toilets and absent sewage systems.

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, the U.N. children’s agency, says at least 15 percent of the world’s population regularly defecates in fields, forests, bushes, bodies of water or other open spaces, putting health at risk.

The combined effects of improper sanitation, unsafe water supply and poor personal hygiene are responsible for 88 percent of childhood deaths from diarrhoea and are estimated to cause more than 3,000 child deaths per day, UNICEF says.

It is a problem sanitation experts are hoping will be properly addressed in the next set of global development targets to replace the current U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015

One goal could be to eradicate open defecation by 2030, says Clarissa Brocklehurst, a consultant for a working group tasked with establishing sanitation targets for 2015 and beyond.

Policymakers agree global water monitoring initiative – expert

Policymakers have agreed an ambitious plan to create a global monitoring and reporting system to oversee water supply, sanitation and water resources management, a U.N. expert said.

Part of the initiative would be assisting developing countries to collect and analyse data on their water resources. The data would likely feed into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are expected to replace the U.N. anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, Joakim Harlin of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said.

Harlin said UN Water, a body coordinating work done by U.N. agencies, was working on defining a proposed SDG water target to replace the MDG of halving the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015.

Experts mull global system to monitor water resources

A global system to monitor management of water resources would help governments secure food and water supplies for the future, a U.N. expert due to attend the World Water Weekconference later this month has told AlertNet.

“There’s demand for a global reporting mechanism that will help us see what is the status of water security and how water is used around the world as a resource, whether in agriculture, industrial production or any other way,” said Joakim Harlin, senior water resources advisor for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The embryonic process – due to be discussed at the water gathering – would set indicators for water-resource management, and build capacity in developing countries so they can collect data, analyse and report on these indicators, he said.

New water policies are key to tackling scarcity – SIWI analysts

Reining in “water anarchy” due to inadequate regulation is one way to avoid the threat of water scarcity and secure resources for the future, according to a water expert at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

Hakan Tropp, director of the United Nations Development Programme water governance facility at SIWI, told AlertNet in an interview that governments should respond to consumer trends in developing countries by instituting new water management policies to avoid future shortfalls.

In a separate interview, Ana Cascao, a programme manager with SIWI who specialises in hydropolitics, said that managing controversy between countries while putting in place a proper balance of water and energy use will help protect water resources from political risks.

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