18 May 2022

Secretary-General Spotlights ‘Tragic’ Failure to Fulfil Basic Water, Sanitation Need for Billions, in Message to Ministerial Meeting

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the Sanitation and Water for All Sector Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta today:

I am pleased to send my greetings to the Sanitation and Water for All’s 2022 Sector Ministers’ Meeting.

Sanitation and water go to the heart of sustainable development and shaping a better, healthier, fairer world for all.  Tragically, the world is failing to fulfil this basic need for billions of people.

Over one in three people on earth — 2.2 billion people — lack access to safely managed drinking water, including 884 million who live without any basic drinking water services at all.  About 4.2 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation — and an estimated 3 billion people live without basic hand-washing facilities.

Water and sanitation must be considered basic human rights for all people, no matter who they are or where they live.  They are also a cornerstone of public health systems — highlighted so tragically by the COVID-19 pandemic — which is why I continue to call for water and sanitation to be available in all health-care facilities by 2030.

Your discussions, which span Governments, sectors and constituency groups, are critical to generating solidarity and much needed action in this vital area.  Together, we can build a better world in which we deliver on the promise of sanitation and water for all.

For information media. Not an official record.