Friday, March 9, 2012

Millennium Development Goal met, 89% of people have access to improved drinking water

TORONTO, March 6, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Over the last two decades, 2 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water, halving the number of people without access and successfully meeting the Millennium Development Goal on water, UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced today in a new report.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said,

"Today we recognize a great achievement for the people of the world. This is one of the first MDG targets to be met. The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water are a testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but as a vital tool for improving the lives of millions of the poorest people."

The report, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, says that at the end of 2010, 89 per cent of the world's population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved drinking water sources. This is one per cent more than the 88 per cent Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. The report estimates that by 2015, 92 per cent of the global population will have access to improved drinking water.

"This is proof that UNICEF's donors and supporters - many Canadian - are capable of making incredible improvements in the lives of children and their families around the world," says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley.

But Morley also cautioned the announcement is an important milestone, but by no means the end of the road. Currently 11 per cent of the world's population - or 783 million people - are still without access to safe drinking water, and billions are without proper sanitation facilities.

"Yes, this is very exciting progress, but there is still work to be done to reach the most vulnerable children and ensure equitable access to improved drinking water," says Morley.

For example, only 61 per cent of the people living in sub-Saharan Africa have access to improved water supply sources compared with 90 per cent or more in Latin America and the Caribbean, northern Africa and large parts of Asia. Over 40 per cent of all people globally who lack access to clean drinking water live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

To help in the effort to ensure equitable access UNICEF also announced today that Lenny Kravitz - GRAMMY award-winning singer-songwriter, record producer and actor - is throwing his support behind the global push by UNICEF and its partners to help save and improve the lives of millions of children and their families around the world by providing them with access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

Young Canadians interested in supporting UNICEF's efforts to improve access to clean water can join the UNICEF Student Challenge. The challenge is an exciting initiative for post-secondary students to reach the world's most vulnerable children with clean water and win a three-day trip to New York City that includes an exclusive behind the scenes tour of UNICEF headquarters at the United Nations. Learn more at

For more information on the Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012 please visit


UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit

About the MDGs

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development. Learn more at