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Ministers Pledge Water And Sanitation For All By 2025   
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Ministers from Ghana and about 50 other countries have pledged to strengthen efforts to bring water, basic toilets and hygiene to their people following the Sanitation and Water for All High-Level Meeting (SWA-HLM) in Washington, DC, USA, on April 11.

The meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership brings together a coalition of more than 90 partners, including developing countries, aid-donor countries, and organisations such as the World Bank and UNICEF to discuss the global state of water, sanitation and hygiene. WaterAid is a founding partner of this partnership. The meeting was opened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

“Achieving sanitation and water for all may not be cost-free – but it will set people free. Access to sanitation and water means a child free of disease, a woman free of the back-breaking chore of fetching water, a girl free to attend school without fear, a village free of cholera, and a world of greater equality and dignity for all,” Ban Ki-moon said.

About 20 countries including 14 from Sub-Saharan Africa, promised to provide all citizens with access to safe water, basic toilets and hygiene by 2030. Sixteen Sub-Saharan African leaders promised to eliminate open defecation in their countries by 2030.

At present, 13 per cent of people in Ghana do not have access to safe drinking water, and 86 per cent are without basic sanitation facilities. Over 3,600 children in Ghana, under the age of five, die each year of diarrhoea diseases because they don’t have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. This intolerable situation demands action!

Ghana pledged to deliver universal access to safe drinking water, basic toilets and hygiene by 2025, and made nine other commitments, including better financing and coordination, renewing the national water policy and conducting a national study on access for the hardest-to-reach.

At the present rate of progress, WaterAid calculations show Ghana will achieve universal access to safe water by 2020, but will not achieve universal access to sanitation until 2265.

Dr Afia S. Zakiya, Country Representative of WaterAid Ghana, said: “WaterAid welcomes our government’s commitments at the High Level Meeting to provide safe water and sanitation. What is crucial now will be concrete actions to deliver those promises, and to act on previous pledges. A child dies every minute from this health crisis. Safe water, basic toilets and proper hand-washing with soap can save those lives.”

At the last meeting in 2012, Ghana made 16 commitments towards increasing access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Ghana’s government has made good progress on nine of its commitments, and slow progress on seven, but has crucially not completed or nearly completed any of its commitments, according to the Sanitation and Water for All partnership.
Source: Daily Graphic

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