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UN Entities Recommend Prioritizing Water and Sanitation Inequalities in Post-2015 Agenda

21 February 2013: Equality, human rights and sustainability should be prioritized as foundational elements in the post-2015 agenda, according to a joint statement by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, the Government of Finland and WaterAid.

The statement, titled "End water and sanitation inequalities in the future development agenda," calls for the post-2015 development agenda to prioritize access to water and sanitation for vulnerable populations, and to develop clear objectives on access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). It underlines that aggregate statistics on access to safe drinking water and sanitation mask a lack of access among vulnerable populations, including women and children, people with disabilities, remote communities and urban slum dwellers. The statement stresses the need to address inequalities in access to essential services, with a particular focus on equal access to WASH. Noting that the international community has learned from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the statement recommends building on the MDGs while crafting more ambitious goals.

UNICEF, UN Women, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, the Government of Finland and WaterAid previously issued a joint statement that called for tackling inequalities and prioritizing access to water and sanitation at an event on “Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene,” which was held on 30 October 2012, in the US. Inequalities and WASH have also been discussed as part of global thematic consultations on the post-2015 agenda.

A High-level Leadership Meeting on Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which took place from 18-19 February 2013, in Copenhagen, Denmark, reviewed the findings of the Global Thematic Consultation on Addressing Inequalities, and a High-level Leadership Meeting on Water will take place from 21-22 March 2013, in The Hague, the Netherlands. [Joint Statement: End Water and Sanitation Inequalities in the Future Development Agenda] [UN Press Release] [IISD RS Story on Previous Joint Statement] [IISD RS Story on Inequalities High-level Meeting]