Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

All talk, no action? Water and sanitation at the Millennium Development Goals summit

There was plenty of talk of water and sanitation at the MDG summit in September but, despite some promising mention of sanitation and water and their impacts on other areas of development, the outcomes did not include the crucial action needed to ensure targets are achieved. 

Water and sanitation featured strongly throughout the event as well as in the summit's outcome documents. Sanitation is mentioned eleven times in the new Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health as well as many times throughout the summit declaration negotiated and agreed by all member states Keeping the Promise: United to achieve the Millennium Development Goals

On the final day of the summit, at a side event Addressing the Global Water and Sanitation Challenge: The Key to the MDGs, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, called for immediate action on sanitation  – the most off-track Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target in sub-Saharan Africa.

But all the talk is of no use without concrete actions and commitments, while $40bn worth of commitments were made from a wide range of countries and organizations to reduce the number of mother and child deaths in developing countries, action is still needed on neglected areas like sanitation.  

Summit backgrounder

When did it take place? 

 20-22 September 2010

Why did it take place?

To review progress on the MDGs over the last ten year and map out a way forward for the remaining 5 years.

What happened?

Heads of State from all across the world gathered for the UN High-Level Plenary. A set of round table discussions on topics including water and sanitation took place as well as a side event on water and sanitation which included Heads of State from Liberia, Senegal, Netherlands, Tajikistan and Ministers from Japan, USA, UK and South Korea.

What were the outcomes?

The outcomes include:

Why is it important?

This was an opportunity for governments to make concrete commitments to accelerating progress on the the MDGs including for sanitation which is the most off-track Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target in sub-Saharan Africa. 

 

Did you take part in the summit? If so, please share your learning and let us know your thoughts by commenting on this post below. 

 

Learn more

Track WaterAid's review of the event and read WaterAid’s new report Ignored: Biggest Child Killer – The World is Neglecting Sanitation.

Find out more on Duncan Mara's blog

View the video of the UN/MDG Maternal Sanitation Wrap from at the high level UN breakfast.