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U.N. Official Raises Awareness Of Open Defecation, Sanitation During World Water Week

The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” examines U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s efforts to bring light to the problem of open defecation and poor sanitation. During a speech at the opening plenary of World Water Week in Stockholm on September 2, Eliasson, who also serves as chair of WaterAid Sweden, “spoke of the more than 2.5 billion who live without adequate sanitation, the 25 percent of people in the developing world who practice open defecation because they have no toilets and, most starkly, the 2,000 children who die every day from diarrhea and other preventable diseases caused by poor sanitation,” the blog writes. “He called on different sectors to think and act horizontally, not in their usual silos,” the blog notes, adding, “The public sector, he said, must invest in sanitation and regulate against pollution, the private sector can provide the technology needed to improve sanitation.” According to The Guardian, “Eliasson asked civil society to continue to give water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) high priority in their policies.” The blog writes, “The best way to summarize the situation, he said, is with one phrase: ‘Water is life, sanitation is dignity'” (Paddison, 9/10).