Friday, March 9, 2012

MDG Drinking Water Target Being Met is Cause for Celebration

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF joint monitoring program for water supply and sanitation (JMP), between 1990 and 2010 more than 2 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells.This means that the world has met the Millennium Development Goal set in 2000 to provide 88% of the world with access to drinking water. This progress has not been driven by just big middle-income countries – smaller, less well-endowed countries have also shown the way. This goal was met through the cooperation of governments, international organizations, and a wide range of non-governmental organizations, such as Friends of Humanity. Providing access to water for more than 2 billion people in less than 25 years is a major accomplishment that proves that all actors, big and small, can have a major impact in global development when they work together.

According to a recent Guardian article, "783 million people still do not have access to drinking water... That is more than one in 10 people in the world. It is perhaps particularly depressing when one considers who these people are, where they live, and the impact this has on their lives. In addition, the other part of the same millennium development goal target – relating to access to adequate sanitation – is still off track." Although there has clearly been significant progress in developing water resources in the last twelve years, a lot more work needs to be done to fulfill the basic human right to water.

For example, according to the World Water Organization, the 17% of the urban population and 29% of the rural population in Nepal still does not have sufficient access to water. As the 14th poorest nation in the world, Nepal faces significant structural challenges in overcoming this problem. In fact while the global rates of water access may be improving, The National Water Plan for Nepal reports that the number of absolute poor has almost doubled in the last 20 years. The World Water Organization goes on to report that, "It is estimated that 15,000 children die each year due to diarrheal diseases ‘caused by poor environmental sanitation and lack of access to quality water supply’ (Nepal’s Department of Water Supply and Sewerage). Although much of the urban population has access to a water source, there is still a huge shortage. Kathmandu has a demand for 200 million liters daily, but the government reports only being able to supply 160 million liters."

It is imperative that individuals and organizations work together to do all that they can to assist  extremely poor nations like Nepal. Friends of Humanity currently supports the RIDS Family of Four Project in Mohorigaun, Jumla District, Nepal that provides drinkable water, latrines, electricity, and smokeless metal stove to improve living conditions, sanitation, and access to water.

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