"Water is life" says UN chief

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A Liberian boy works the hand pump at a communal well in Liberia. UN Photo/Staton Winter

Water is not only for life but water is life, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Tuesday.

He spoke at the opening ceremony of the High-Level International Conference on the Implementation of the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" from 2005 to 2015.

Mr Ban said that despite progress made to provide safe drinking water to people around the world, challenges still remain.

Ana Carmo reports.

The Secretary-General told the conference in the Tajik capital that the world achieved the Millennium Development Goal target for safe sustainable drinking water five years ahead of schedule.

Ban Ki-moon pointed out that in the course of one generation, 2.3 billion people -one third of humanity- have gained access to an improved drinking water source.

He also pointed out that during the Water for Life Decade more than 1.9 billion people gained access to improved sanitation.

However, the UN chief added, there is still bad news, with some 2.5 billion people still lacking access to adequate sanitation.

Even today, Mr Ban said, some one billion people still practice open defecation.

He urged participants in Dushanbe to resolve to build upon the successes of the Decade and keep up the momentum for what he called "this crucial year of 2015 and far beyond".

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 59″

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