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.

Q+A: Pepsico water chief talks about Stockholm water prize

As people increasingly try to lessen their impact on the environment by conserving energy and water, many companies – including some of the large multinationals – are following suit.

This week in the Swedish capital, environmental sustainability was in focus for hundreds of delegates at the World Water Week conference where topics ranged from how best to achieve food security for almost 1 billion people who currently go hungry to corruption in the water sector and how to provide adequate sanitation for 2.5 billion people who lack it.

Among the water-sector achievements honoured with awards at the annual conference, PepsiCo, the maker of Diet Pepsi, Gatorade, Frito-Lay snacks and Tropicana orange juice, snatched up the prestigious Stockholm Industry Water Award for increasing water efficiency in its own production facilities and working to defeat water problems on a larger scale. PepsiCo has net revenues of more than $65 billion and 300,000 employees around the world.

Corruption in water sector increases hunger risk – experts

Stamping out corruption in the water sector is crucial to boosting global food production as world population growth increases pressure on water supplies, according to experts meeting at World Water Weekin Stockholm.

Corruption in the water sector is already a major problem for farmers and it’s likely to get worse as competition for water increases, a joint statement released by the Water Integrity Network (WIN), Transparency International and the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Water Governance Facility at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.

Governments, businesses and civil society must work together to improve transparency in the water sector, and introduce better checks and balances to counter corruption and nepotism, the statement said.

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.

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