Thursday, 31 July 2014

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UN Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson calls for ‘taboo’ on sanitation to be broken

Jan Eliasson

3 September 2013. United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson has opened the World Water Week Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, with an impassioned keynote speech in which he called for the “taboo” on sanitation to be broken.

“We must continue to break taboos. As was the case for the word "toilets" a few years ago. It is time to incorporate "open defecation" in the political language and in the diplomatic discourse today,” Mr. Eliasson said.

The Deputy Secretary-General insisted that is was self-evident that dealing effectively with the water and sanitation crisis was fundamental to fighting disease and poverty. “It is key for enabling a life of dignity for billions of people around the globe. One can say that water is life but sanitation is dignity.”

2.5 billion people in the world do not have adequate sanitation or more than one third of humanity. One billion practice open defecation.

In media interviews in Stockholm Eliasson said it was “a scandal” that sanitation is lagging far behind other targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

“The High-Level Panel on Water and Sanitation says that water and sanitation should be a stand alone goal in the post-2015 development targets. I have great sympathy with this proposal,” Mr. Eliasson said.

The Deputy Secretary-General and Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General took part in a seminar at Uppsala University yesterday on the theme “The Future of the United Nations.” Earlier the two men laid a wreath on the grave of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in Uppsala in the presence of Her Royal Highness Victoria Crown Princess of Sweden.

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