Mumbai, 13 October 2011, www-wsscc-global-forum.org
Chair, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends,
That great moral beacon of our times, Nelson Mandela, invites us to judge the importance of an issue not by how glamorous or attractive it is but by how much good it does for how many people. On that basis, sanitation is one of the most important issues in the world. As our Forum draws to a close, I would like to share with you some observations about the subject and some thoughts for the future.
This is an exciting time to be working in sanitation. Historically, sanitation and hygiene have been neglected and underfunded topics characterized by inconsistent approaches and policies, fragmentation and unclear responsibilities. In recent years this has started to change: the United Nations have formally recognized access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right, more organizations have become engaged in sanitation and hygiene, and new networks and initiatives have started. Media and political decision-makers are beginning to understand the huge benefits of improved sanitation.