June 1, 2007
Sanitation for All?Gert de Bruijne, Mirjam Geurts, and Brian Appleton | International Water and Sanitation Center
For decades, water and sanitation sector professionals complained that sanitation was being neglected. Politicians saw few votes in campaigning for more latrines, while funding agencies argued that they had to follow national government priorities. The results have been reflected in global statistics showing that 2.4 billion people, or 40% of the world's population, entered the new Millennium without access to hygienic sanitation facilities. Some 1.9 billion of those without facilities were in Asia, meaning that less than half of that region´s people had access to proper sanitation.
Today, the mood is very different. Powerful arguments about the role of sanitation improvements in reducing poverty, protecting the environment, raising education standards, and spearheading human development attracted massive media attention at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. As a direct result of that Summit, a vital sanitation target was added to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).