Meeting physiological needs remains unsafe for more than 962 million people without adequate facilities. The global achievement of health, full schooling, and gender equality depends on one of the simplest and most inexpensive elements of sanitation. On World Toilet Day, the UN reminds us that we are still far from having toilets for everyone.
Securing clean water and safe sanitation and hygiene facilities is essential but not enough. Knowledge must go hand in hand with achievement. Schools are the foundation for health and hygienically efficient behavior, and students guarantee that communities keep moving forward. Two new projects in India give us a broader perspective.
We are not progressing as we should to meet the 2030 Agenda. Despite improvements in some goals, the lack of progress is troubling in eradicating extreme poverty, improving food security, and climate and environmental action. There is also a slowdown in water and sanitation. A recent UN report summarizes a situation that we must reverse.
The urgency of finding new forms of collaboration was a recurring message at World Water Week. We have exceeded the planetary water limits, and the need for a change of mindset in innovation and governance must involve all sectors and all countries.
Indigenous peoples inhabit a quarter of the planet's surface but protect 80% of our remaining biodiversity. They are seriously threatened by deforestation, industrial agriculture, tourism, and extractivism. They lose their land and water and bear the brunt of climate change. We have a responsibility to end their injustice, for they must help us make this world more livable.
Groundwater saves lives and is vital to eradicating poverty in places where the only chance to drink is to go to a pond. Knowing and using their aquifers is the basis of health and development in communities without access to safe water. In Tanzania, with a simple well, we will transform the life of a village.
Brazil's semi-arid areas face a growing climate challenge. Persistent droughts ruin family farms and damage ecosystems. Improving the education system is the best tool for resilience and adaptation to a future marked by water crises.
In Rwamwanja camp in Uganda, almost half of the refugees are of school age. Water and sanitation are inadequate and may jeopardize the future of thousands of families. Schools offer displaced people more than education: shelter, security, and care.
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