Thursday, February 20, 2014

UN focuses on faltering goals: water, sanitation, energy

Thalif Dean in IPS: When the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their deadline in 2015, there will still be a critical setback: millions of people in the developing world without full access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and electricity in their homes.

Conscious of this shortcoming, the 193-member General Assembly hosted a two-day high-level meeting, which concluded Wednesday, to address three thematic issues: water, sanitation and sustainable energy, specifically in the context of the U.N.’s post-2015 development agenda

But water experts are sceptical whether the targets will be fully met by 2015 unless there is a dramatic acceleration of the current pace, particularly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A 2012 U.N. report claimed the goal to halve the proportion of people living without access to safe drinking water has been reached – with more than two billion people being the beneficiaries.

Still, there are 327 million sub-Saharan Africans without this crucial service today than in 1990, Girish Menon, director of international programmes at the London-based WaterAid, told IPS. At current rates, he predicted, it will take until at least 2030 for sub-Saharan Africa to meet the MDG water target.

Addressing delegates Tuesday, General Assembly President John Ashe described the magnitude of the problem as great: 783 million people live without clean water, 2.5 billion have no adequate sanitation and 1.4 billion people are without access to electricity, he said….

A toilet in a Munich theater, shot by Usien, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

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