Delegate: Elsa van de Loo (22 years)
37. Ms. van de Loo (the Netherlands), speaking as a youth delegate, said that, although the General Assembly had recently adopted a resolution which declared that access to clean water and sanitation was a fundamental human right, 2.6 billion people still lacked access to sanitation. Every year 3.5 million people died of waterborne illnesses; diarrhoea was the second most common cause of death among children under the age of five. It was estimated that within 40 years, as many [*6*] as 2 billion people would lack access to clean water. Lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation was a major obstacle to the health of young people worldwide. The 2006 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report had stated that “the scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not in physical availability”. Governments must strive to realize the right to water and sanitation for everyone and must focus on those individuals and groups that have traditionally faced difficulties.
38. In most developing countries, women were responsible for water management at the domestic and community levels. Every day women spent more than 200 million hours collecting and transporting water for domestic use. Such work caused women physical harm and impeded their involvement in such activities as education, income generation, leisure and recreation, since the time women spent securing water made it difficult for them to participate in decision-making.
39. Investment was required to ensure equitable access for all people to clean, affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation. States must strive to realize the Millennium Development Goals and reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/65/SR.2