Posted on September 11, 2008

Sub-Saharan Africa ‘Will Be Without Sanitation Till 2100’

Alice Klein, London Telegraph, September 11,

The population of sub-Saharan Africa will not have access to adequate sanitation until the 22nd century unless international efforts are dramatically stepped up, charities have warned.

They also claim that such little progress has been made on poverty targets that the population will also lack adequate access to safe water until 2035.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Tearfund and WaterAid made the claims in a report entitled Sanitation and Water—Why We Need a Global Framework for Action.

They follow the publication of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report, which shows what progress has been made on poverty targets set out at the organisation’s Millennium Summit eight years ago.

The report is expected to show the international community is falling behind in its efforts to relieve global poverty, with inadequate progress made on targets such as promoting gender equality and combating HIV/AIDS by 2015.

The figures reveal some goals are close to being met. For example, the large population’s of China and India are achieving greater access to food, therefore helping to fulfil the MDG to eradicate hunger.

But sub-Sahara African countries are falling behind, it says, with millions of the world’s poorest people moving deeper into poverty.

The NGOs say inadequate sanitation causes the death of millions of children each year and impedes progress in education and health, as well as economic growth.

Mari Williams, of Tearfund, said: “Without clean water and a safe, hygienic place to go to the toilet, millions of people will remain in poverty—yet governments are failing to act.

“Inadequate sanitation and water are amongst the biggest causes of child mortality—another of the goals lagging furthest behind—killing at least 5,000 children every single day.

“This report highlights the weak global response, that aid for water and sanitation is declining as a proportion of overall aid and it is extremely poorly targeted. Plus there is a total lack of coordination and accountability at the highest level.”

The NGO report claims a majority of international aid goes to middle income countries such as China, Jordan, Iraq, Malaysia, Indonesia, while less than a quarter goes to the least developed countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN will present its findings to member countries in New York at the end of the month.