Tag Archives: United Nations

United Nations – World Water Development Report 2016 Report: Water and Jobs

United Nations – World Water Development Report 2016 Report: Water and Jobs, 2016. 

Three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. In fact, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come, according to the 2016 United Nations World Water Development Report, Water and Jobs, launched on 22 March 2016, World Water Day, in Geneva. wwd2016.png

From its collection, through various uses, to its ultimate return to the natural environment, water is a key factor in the development of job opportunities either directly related to its management (supply, infrastructure, wastewater treatment, etc.) or in economic sectors that are heavily water-dependent such as agriculture, fishing, power, industry and health. Furthermore, good access to drinking water and sanitation promotes an educated and healthy workforce, which constitutes an essential factor for sustained economic growth.

In its analysis of the economic impact of access to water, the report cites numerous studies that show a positive correlation between investments in the water sector and economic growth. It also highlights the key role of water in the transition to a green economy.

Toilet takes up seat at the UN

At the first official UN celebration of World Toilet Day on 19 November 2013, a “mobile” toilet takes over the seat of Yemen at the UN headquarters in New York. Listen to the podcast of the UN Seminar and panel discussion entitled “Sanitation for All”  here.

Sanitation for All – UN resolution on World Toilet Day – it’s Official

wtd-resolution-final

Credit: UNICEF

The General Assembly has today passed a resolution [1] proposed by the Government of Singapore on Sanitation for All  and the establishment of November 19th as World Toilet Day. [2]

The amusement and laughter likely to follow the designation of 19 November as “World Toilet Day” would all be worthwhile if people’s attention was drawn to the fact that 2.5 billion people lacked proper sanitation and 1.1 billion were forced to defecate in the open, the General Assembly heard today. [3]

In a statement issued immediately following the Assembly’s action, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said that the new annual observance would “go a long way toward raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation”. [4]

The resolution builds on the Call to Action on Sanitation launched by Mr. Eliasson in March 2013 and to the General Assembly’s “Sustainable sanitation: the drive to 2015”, agreed in 2010.

Over 100 UN delegations are said to be co-sponsoring the “Sanitation for all” resolution  — including Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Jamaica and the United Kingdom [5].

Jack Sim, the Father of World Toilet Day. Credit: World Toilet Organization.

For updates follow @team_toilet and the hashtags #Toilets4All and #WorldToiletDay on Twitter.

World Toilet Day started off in 2001 as an initiative of the World Toilet Organization (WTO), founded by Jack Sim.

The UN General Assembly has requested UN-Water to facilitate the implementation of World Toilet Day in the context of Sanitation for All  [1]. 

Source:

[1] Sanitation for All. UN General Assembly A/67/L.75, 17 July 2013. Full text
[2] Therese Dooley, UNICEF, E-mail,  24 July 2013
[3] UN General Assembly GA/11397, 24 July 2013
[4] UN News, 24 July 2013
[5] UN adopts S’pore’s resolution on sanitation, ChannelNews Asia, 24 July 2013

Medical waste, bad for your health and bad for your rights, warns UN expert

A new UN report says the international community has to date paid little attention to the growing problem of medical waste around the world, especially in developing countries. The report was released in September 2011 by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxic waste Calin Georgescu.

“Some 20 to 25 per cent of the total waste generated by health-care establishments is regarded as hazardous and may create a variety of health and environmental risks if not managed and disposed of in an appropriate manner,” warns the independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to report on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights.

Hazardous health-care waste includes infectious waste, sharps, anatomical and pathological waste, obsolete or expired chemical products and pharmaceuticals, and radioactive materials. Medical waste is often mixed with general household waste, and either disposed of in municipal waste facilities or dumped illegally.

A significant amount of chemicals and pharmaceuticals is disposed of through hospital wastewater.

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Advances in sanitation bypassing the poor and rural communities

The UN’s latest Millennium Development Goals Report notes that progress in sanitation has largely bypassed the poor while rural populations remain disadvantaged.

An analysis of trends over the period 1995-2008 for three countries in Southern Asia shows that improvements in sanitation disproportionately benefited the better off, while sanitation coverage for the poorest 40 per cent of households hardly increased. Although gaps in sanitation coverage between urban and rural areas are narrowing, rural populations remain at a distinct disadvantage in a number of regions.

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Haiti: UN panel reports on source of cholera outbreak

The cholera outbreak that has so far killed 4,888 people in Haiti was caused by a strain “very similar but not identical” to current South Asian strains, a UN independent panel of experts said. The source of the outbreak was due to contamination of the Meye Tributary of the Artibonite River, used by tens of thousands of people for washing, bathing, and drinking.

Anti-UN protests in Haiti

Many people in Haiti blamed the epidemic on UN peacekeepers from Nepal, who had been accused of poor sanitation at their base near Mirebalais, the town where the epidemic first began. In November 2010, this led to violent protests against the UN peacekeeping forces. Others believed that the outbreak was linked to voodoo. More than 50 voodoo followers have been killed since the outbreak of cholera following accusations that they spread the disease with occult power. However, the U.N. panel declined to point the finger at any single group for the outbreak, saying it was the result of a “confluence of circumstances”.

“The introduction of this cholera strain as a result of environmental contamination with faeces could not have been the source of such an outbreak without simultaneous water and sanitation and health-care system deficiencies,” the report concludes.

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UN Human Rights Council affirms that right to water and sanitation is legally binding

The UN Human Rights Council has finally recognised the right to water and sanitation as legally binding in international law, in a landmark decision adopted on 30 September 2010.

[T]he UN affirmed […] by consensus that the right to water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living, which is contained in several international human rights treaties. While experts working with the UN human rights system have long acknowledged this, it was the first time that the Human Rights Council has declared itself on the issue.

According to the UN Independent Expert on human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, “this means that for the UN, the right to water and sanitation, is contained in existing human rights treaties and is therefore legally binding”. She added that “this landmark decision has the potential to change the lives of the billions of human beings who still lack access to water and sanitation.”

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