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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.