Cover Image
close this bookGlobal Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report (UNICEF - WSSCC - WHO, 2000, 90 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword by the Director-General of WHO and the Executive Director of UNICEF
View the documentForeword by the Chairperson of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contents1. The Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000
Open this folder and view contents2. Global status
Open this folder and view contents3. Sector performance
Open this folder and view contents4. Water supply and sanitation in large cities
Open this folder and view contents5. Challenges, future needs and prospects
Open this folder and view contents6. Africa
Open this folder and view contents7. Asia
Open this folder and view contents8. Latin America and the Caribbean
Open this folder and view contents9. Oceania
Open this folder and view contents10. Europe
Open this folder and view contents11. Northern America
View the documentReferences
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentAnnex A: Methodology for the Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000
View the documentBack Cover

Foreword by the Director-General of WHO and the Executive Director of UNICEF

Half a century of efforts by WHO, UNICEF and other international organizations to improve water and sanitation conditions around the world have contributed to global awareness, the establishment of international programmes and the strengthening of national institutions. In the 1990s this afforded improved water supply for more than 800 million people and sanitation for around 750 million people. However, despite the intensive efforts of many institutions at the national and international levels, nearly 1.1 billion people still remain without access to improved sources of water, and about 2.4 billion have no access to any form of improved sanitation services. As a consequence, 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with lack of safe drinking-water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

Access to safe water and to sanitary means of excreta disposal are universal needs and, indeed, basic human rights. They are essential elements of human development and poverty alleviation and constitute an indispensable component of primary health care. There is evidence that provision of adequate sanitation services, safe water supply, and hygiene education represents an effective health intervention that reduces the mortality caused by diarrhoeal disease by an average of 65% and the related morbidity by 26%. Inadequate sanitation, hygiene and water result not only in more sickness and death, but also in higher health costs, lower worker productivity, lower school enrollment and retention rates of girls and, perhaps most importantly, the denial of the rights of all people to live in dignity.

The International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981 - 1990) was a period of accelerated and concerted effort to expand water supply and sanitation services to the unserved and underserved poor populations. At the World Summit for Children in 1990, the goal of universal access to safe water and sanitation by the year 2000 was adopted to promote the survival, protection and development of children. The importance of universal access to drinking-water supply and sanitation was further reiterated at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Thereafter, many other crucial international conferences recognized water and sanitation as the bedrock of public health and social progress and the key to improving children's survival, health and development.

Since 1990, WHO and UNICEF have been collaborating in the Joint Monitoring Programme, which has as its main purposes the building of national capacity for the water and sanitation sector, monitoring and informing policy-makers globally on the status of the sector. This programme reaffirms the commitments made by UNICEF and WHO to work together towards universal access to safe drinking-water and sanitation. More specifically, the global assessment of the water supply and sanitation sector described in this report represents an important joint contribution of the two organizations towards this goal.

Diseases related to contaminated drinking-water, unsanitary food preparation, inadequate excreta disposal and unclean household environments constitute a major burden on the health of peoples in the developing world and are among the leading causes of ill-health. Sustainable health, especially for children, is not possible without effective and adequate water supply and environmental sanitation.

We hope that the findings of this important assessment report will serve its major purpose of attracting the attention of policy-makers and decision-makers in governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, nongovernmental organizations and civil society in general, to the crucial need to intensify efforts to attain the target of Vision 21: universal coverage with safe water supply and adequate sanitation by the year 2025. That this vision will bear fruit for the health of people in need is the aim and commitment of both our organizations.

Gro Harlem Brundtland

Carol Bellamy

Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)

Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)