Specifically, they'll review progress to date on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and decide what needs to happen before the 2015 deadline to meet a range of targets that include halving the proportion of people without access to sanitation and water.
We know that progress has been far too slow – nine million children still die every year from preventable causes, and the numbers of people going to bed hungry is on the rise. We also know that progress has been deeply uneven, with key targets like sanitation miles off track – in Sub-Saharan Africa the target will not be met for another 200 years unless drastic action is taken.
Part of the problem is a lack of priority given to development in general. And part of it is that there's has been insufficient focus on some of the most off-track areas like sanitation, and too little recognition of how inter-connected all the different development targets are. This inequity holds progress back in all areas.
It is obvious that to escape poverty, a person needs a range of things - good education, good nutrition, access to health systems, clean water and safe sanitation to name a few – and it is foolish to try to focus on just one area at the exclusion of others. Life is more complex, and so should be our responses.
So End Water Poverty has joined up with Action for Global Health, Action Contre La Faim and WaterAid to produce a short report entitled ‘Breaking Barriers: working together to achieve a healthy hunger-free world’, outlining what we think needs to be done at the UN MDG Summit this September. It calls for a well-financed and accountable Global Action Plan for all the MDGs, a smarter and more integrated approach to development, and a renewed focus on some of the regions and targets most off-track, including sanitation and water, nutrition and those related to health.
We’ll be using this as a basis for advocacy over the coming months, and encourage you to do so as well. There are resources at www.endwaterpoverty.org/mdg2010, and more information to come soon.
In related news, two great advocates have been participating in the UN Civil Society hearings in New York this week, making a strong case for our cause. Lajana Manandhar from FAN-Nepal made a passionate speech to the Assembly, while Kate Norgrove from WaterAid has been intensively lobbying Governments to act - you can read her blog here.
Let’s build on their great work and break down the barriers that deny people their rights to life and dignity.