The report, titled ”Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012,” says the world has met its Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. Today, 89 percent of the world’s population is now using improved drinking water sources — 1 percent higher than the MDG target, the report says.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the news, calling it a “great achievement” for the world’s people. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, meanwhile, said this is proof that MDG targets can be met with “the will, the effort and the funds.” The goal on safe drinking water falls under MDG number 7: ensure environmental sustainability.
This achievement, however, is fragile and not full. Eleven percent of the population is still without access to safe drinking water — 40 percent of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. There is also a need to ensure that the improved sources of water remain safe, or else, gains will be “in vain,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said.
Apart from these challenges, the report stresses that the world is still far from meeting the MDG target for sanitation — and is unlikely to do so by 2015. At present, 2.5 billion still lack access to improved sanitation.
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