According to a new report by the United Nations (UN) on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world has been able to meet targets in three areas: poverty, slums and water. These targets have been met in advance of the 2015 deadline.
The report, Millennium Development Goals Report Card 2012, is an annual report on global poverty.
"The eight MDGs, agreed by world leaders at a U.N. summit in 2000, set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a 'Global Partnership for Development," said the UN in a news report.
But, by 2015, there will still be 600 million people worldwide will still lack access to safe drinking water. Most of these people live in dire poverty, making just over a dollar a day or less.
While the right to water has been recently proclaimed by international authorities, other human rights treaties provide associated entitlements such as the right to life and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Yet, for millions of children around the world, routine access to fresh water is something of a luxury.
About 1.2 million children under the age of five lose their lives to diarrhoeal diseases. The right to water is an important piece of reducing child mortality by two-thirds of the 1990 level—as set out in the MDGs.
Goal #7 of the millennium agenda further calls on countries to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by the year 2015. With this deadline only a few short years away, the world has met one-in-two of this target’s requirements. Water access has been greatly expanded to meet the goal, but the world remains off-track when it comes to ensuring adequate sanitation for all.
Investments in clean water and sanitation in combination with reductions to child mortality will likely be important facets of poor countries’ development. Though a two-fifths of the world’s children are urban dwellers (millions are slum dwellers), access to improved water or sanitation sources has not kept pace with population growth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that fore every $1 spend on improving water and sanitation systems, a $5 economic gain results. If local conditions are good, the gain can be as much as $28.
" Lack of safe sanitation is hampering progress in health and nutrition," said the UN Development Programme in a news release yesterday.