UN Campaign aims to end open defecation by 2025Listen /
Governments, civil society, business and international organizations are being urged to take action to ensure that people have access to sanitation.
The call has come from UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson who launched a campaign for access to basic sanitation on the eve of World Water Day observed on 22 March.
He said that of the world's seven billion people, six billion have mobile phones but only 4.5 billion have access to latrines and toilets.
Mr. Eliasson says the campaign for access to sanitation is aimed at ending open defecation by 2025.
"Open defecation is a fact of life for 1.1 billion people in the world who go out in the open. And by that, of course first of all can you imagine the lack of dignity around this act, this risks of being raped if you are a woman or a girl going out at night but also the health risks, both personal health and of course for the environment. And this is, of course, a very clear sign of the extreme poverty that still exists, the huge inequalities in the world. One person out of four of the least developed countries is practicing open defecation."(33")
Mr. Eliasson says that access to basic sanitation is a problem that people don't like to talk about.
But, he stresses, it goes to the heart of ensuring good health, a clean environment and fundamental human dignity for billions of people.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.