International Year of Sanitation

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Modified logo of International Year of Sanitation, used in the UN Drive to 2015 campaign logo

The year 2008 was declared the International Year of Sanitation by the United Nations[1] in conjunction with the Water for Life Decade.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. Worldwide there are roughly 2.6 billion people who do not have access to basic sanitation today. The goal of 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation was to help raise awareness of this crisis and to accelerate progress towards reaching the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and cutting the number of people without access to basic sanitation in half by the year 2015.


The progress towards achieving the sanitation MDG has been slow and varied in different parts of the world. The main objective in declaring 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation is to help get the sanitation MDG back on track for achieving the goal of halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015. Accomplishing this goal will require cooperation between different UN agencies, especially UNDESA and UNICEF, as well as government agencies, NGO’s, private companies, and academic circles.


The network Sustainable Sanitation Alliance was formed in 2007 in order to have a joint label for the planned activities for the International Year of Sanitation in 2008 and to be able to align the organisations with each other for further potential initiatives.[2]


  • “Our work has shown that sanitation does improve health - simple achievable interventions reduce for example diarrhoeal disease by 391 million cases per year.” WHO. 2007
  • “Basic knowledge and understanding about the connection between hygiene and disease can save lives. The simple act of washing hands with soap (or ash, or earth) and water after going to the toilet is estimated to reduce diarrhoeal disease by a third.” - WHO/UNICEF 2000 Human Waste Report. 2002
  • “To reach the sanitation target means providing services to an additional 450,000 people a day until 2015. This calls for almost a doubling of the current efforts. On current trends, the world will miss the sanitation target by more than half a billion people.” WaterAid
  • “Poor sanitation and water supplies are the engines that drive cycles of disease, poverty and powerlessness in developing nations. Action to improve sanitation is an important step to enable the poorest people to escape poverty.” - WaterAid and Tearfund. Human Waste Report 2002
  • "It is clear that investing in sanitation generates massive returns on health, the environment and the economy. In fact, the overwhelming evidence is that there is no single development policy intervention that brings greater public health returns than investment in basic sanitation and hygiene practices. The UN estimates that for every $1 spent on sanitation, the return on investment is around $9." -WaterAid. End Water Poverty event welcomes the UN International Year of Sanitation. 2008


The spotlight on sanitation as a major issue worldwide began in 2000 with the United Nations adoption of the Millennium Development Goals, which aim at diminishing poverty and increasing health and the general well-being of all people. Further development of these goals was discussed in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, with the inclusion of access to sanitation as fundamental to achieving all goals surrounding bringing an end to poverty. The Johannesburg Plan of Action established the objective of halving the number of people without access to basic sanitation by the year 2015.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 61 Resolution 192. A/RES/61/192 page 2. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
  2. ^ SuSanA (2008) Towards more sustainable sanitation solutions - SuSanA Vision Document. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)

External links[edit]