Washington, Feb 5 : The Stockholm International Water Institute SIWI in Sweden has said that UN's "2008 International Year of Sanitation", will be a crucial time for the world to take action on the issue.
According to a report in ENN, the UN General Assembly declared the year 2008 the International Year of Sanitation, to put the spotlight on this subject.
The goal is to raise awareness and to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.
SIWI has developed a year-long plan of activities to raise awareness and commitment internationally and in Sweden from actors at all levels on the importance of reaching the sanitation MDG target to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to improved sanitation.
"If we do not act and address the sanitation crisis we will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals in general, as sanitation is significantly interlinked with child mortality, maternal health, primary education, gender equality, poverty reduction, hunger and environmental sustainability," said Anders Berntell, SIWI Executive Director.
According to the report, together with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), SIWI is co-sponsoring the second edition of the WASH Media Award, which encourages newspaper, television, web and radio coverage of the issues in developing countries.
In addition to SIWI activities designed to contribute to the enhancement of sanitation implementation, the SIWI-administered Swedish Water House will arrange a number of seminars on sanitation, health and hygiene, among these an event and media campaign in connection with the UN World Water Day in March 2008, the report said.
The highlight of the year for SIWI and quite possibly for the international water, sanitation and development community will be the strong sanitation focus at the World Water Week in Stockholm, August 17-23, 2008.
According to Cecilia Martinsen of the World Water Week management team at SIWI, "The sanitation focus at the 2008 World Water Week aims to elevate the debate and to share experiences from both the successes and failures in order to learn how to best move forward for progress."
It will high-light issues ranging from global response, national policy and community deadlocks and dynamics, to research, implementation and socio-economic approaches she added