October 8, 2013, Budapest, Hungary: During the opening ceremony of the Budapest Water Summit today, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon put sanitation on the same level as food security and climate change, giving it a prominent role in shaping the post-2015 development agenda.
“People cannot thrive without adequate sanitation, and we must work to end the practice of open defecation. That is why I have asked the Deputy Secretary-General to spearhead a global call to action to accelerate work towards the MDG on sanitation,” the Secretary-General stressed in his opening remarks, a message echoed by the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Wu Hong Bo. Speaking at a side event on post-2015 targets and indicators, which was hosted by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Mr Wu said, “Water and sanitation are at the core of our existence.”
The special breakfast event, entitled “Behavior Change – Sustainable Investment in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene”, was moderated by WSSCC Executive Director, Chris Williams and included on the panel the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque. Mrs Albuquerque advocated “tracking exclusion” and progressively eliminating the inequalities that still exist in access to water and sanitation – a theme that went to the core of the discussion, held at the Hilton Budapest hotel.
Another panelist, and keynote speaker, the Hon. Minister of Water Resources of Nigeria, Sarah Reng Ochekpe praised the UN high level officials and donors for their support, before posing a humbling question to the audience. “Could you imagine now if there were not toilets in this hotel?” she asked. “Well, no toilets is what is happening to 2.5 billion people in the world.”
Organized by WSSCC in collaboration with the governments of Netherlands and Switzerland, the event concluded with participants congratulating the speakers for their integrated approach to water and sanitation issues.
Photos from the events
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