UN breaks the silence on open defecation

Date: 26th May 2014

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The United Nations and its partners will hold a press briefing and campaign launch at UN Headquarters on 28 May 2014 to help end the practice of open defecation and improve access to toilets and latrines for the 2.5 billion people without basic level sanitation.

“It is time to talk about open defecation,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. “To discuss the facts, the consequences and the solutions. And it is time to talk about the many countries around the world where community members, local leaders and politicians are taking positive action to end this practice.”

open_defecation_campaign

The campaign aims to break the silence—the silence on talking about open defecation and the silence on the deaths and diseases, particularly among children, that have occurred a result of open defecation practices and lack of decent toilets or latrines.

The campaign will run to the end of 2015. The creative agency Mother, the largest independent advertising agency in the United Kingdom, has generously given time and expertise on a pro bono basis to develop the campaign ideas and materials. It is being launched in response to the UN’s Call to Action on Sanitation, and is focusing particularly on the issue of open defecation, which is seen as “the sharp end of the problem”.

Press Conference
Speakers: Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will officially launch the campaign. He will then take part in a discussion moderated by Andrea Koppel, former correspondent for CNN and current Mercy Corps Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy, with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, H.E. Mark Neo, the UN Deputy Permanent Representative of Singapore and Nicholas Alipui, Director of UNICEF Programmes. A surprise celebrity appearance will be made at the end of the programme.

Time and Place: The campaign launch will take place on 28 May at 10 a.m. (EDT time) at Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at UN Headquarters.

The event will be webcast live at: www.un.org/webcast

Follow the Meeting on Twitter: @opendefecation, hashtag #opendefecation #sanitation

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