6 June 2015 – Millions of children globally are now accessing water from improved sources with significant achievements towards realising the Millennium Development Goals. However, according to Unicef, much remains to be done to ensure the rights of the most vulnerable children are protected in water, sanitation and hygiene.
Mandated by the UN General Assembly to take stock of the “Water for Life Decade 2005 – 2015, the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan is hosting an International High-Level Conference from 9-10 June 2015 in Dushanbe.
Unicef in close collaboration with the Government, particularly the Ministry of Education and Science, is co-convening a pre-conference Children’s Forum from 6-8 June 2015.
The Forum aims to provide opportunities for children and adolescents to learn and develop advocacy skills to contribute to global discussions so that all children, everywhere, can have access to WASH in all aspects of life: home, community, school and during disasters.
Unicef is convening 60 children and young people from 13 countries, including from host country Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, South Korea, the Philippines, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, USA and Zambia. They will develop a call to action to be presented at the Conference.
“Children and young people will alert delegates from the world about the importance of water in their lives, how they see issues related to access of water and provision of appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities, particularly in schools and communities,” said Ms. Lucia Elmi, Unicef Representative in Tajikistan, speaking at the start of the Children’s WASH Forum.
The water children drink influences their health, physical development and mental capacities. Children, who are deprived of safe drinking water, may develop debilitating, painful and even fatal conditions later in life.
On access to sanitation, more than one third of the world’s people - some 2.5 billion people - do not use improved sanitation facilities. Of these, 1 billion people defecate in the open; in fields, lakes or rivers. In Tajikistan, 72 per cent of population has access to improved drinking water source and around 94 per cent uses improved sanitation facilities.
Poor sanitation not only spreads diseases and infections, but also takes away people’s human dignity. Evidence also shows safe and clean toilets encourage girls to stay in school.
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