“SDG 6.2 is about ending open defecation and providing access to safe sanitation and hygiene, and this is the farthest path from all SDGs, and the farthest in terms of underfunding,” said Ann Thomas, Team Leader, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH Programs Division, UNICEF, at a UN Headquarters press conference, Thursday.

‘Sanitation Crisis’

In the 2020 forecast, 3.6 billion people lack safely administered sanitation services. The rate of increase in sanitation coverage will need to quadruple to achieve universal access to safely managed services by 2030, said Ms. Thomas, described the situation as a “sanitary crisis”, especially for women and children.

Through the Game Plan to Reach Safety Managed Sanitation 2022-2030, UNICEF will support 1 billion people to gain access to safely managed sanitation, through direct and indirect support, in collaboration with partners.

Also speaking at the press conference, Johannes Cullmann, Deputy Chair of UN-Water, the world agency’s interagency coordination mechanism for water issues, described poor sanitation as “not a matter of technology but a matter of ‘political will’”, emphasizing that technology exists, and the government should invest in sanitation.

Taboo discussion

The whole discussion about sanitation has become “taboo” and “invisible”, said both speakers, stressing the need made it more prominent with politicians to ensure everyone has access to proper sanitation.

These topics will be discussed at the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater in Paris from 7 to 8 December, and at the 2023 UN Water Conference from 22 to 24 March.

A giant inflatable toilet is located on the front lawn of the United Nations Headquarters to commemorate World Toilet Day.

UN/Mark Garten’s photo

A giant inflatable toilet is located on the front lawn of the United Nations Headquarters to commemorate World Toilet Day.

Big message

On November 18, a giant inflatable head-turning toilet will be displayed on the main courtyard of the United Nations Headquarters at noon. The inflatable toilet was last seen in 2019.

On the same day, UNICEF will hold an event titled Sanitation Acceleration Towards 2030 with speakers to discuss key sanitation and water issues in connection with the upcoming UN Water Conference 2023.