International community expected to commit to global sanitation improvement

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The international community is being asked to commit to supporting the world's poorest countries to improve their water and sanitation services.

Ministers from 50 nations are attending a "High-Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water for All" in Washington DC on Friday where they are expected to make financial and political commitments to make those improvements.

The UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, which is convening the meeting, says 2.5 billion people around the world still don't have access to what it calls "improved sanitation".

Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF's chief of Water and Sanitation programmes said one of the biggest challenges is open defecation, where people do not use toilets.

"It's bad for health. It can result in children dying from diarrhoea. About 1400 children die every year from diarrhea that is mostly attributable to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene or the lack of those services."

Member Sates of the UN are currently developing new poverty targets, including those related to water, that will be launched in 2016.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’23″

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