Responsible Futures Matter
Edited by Moazzem Hossain, Tapan Sarker and Malcolm McIntosh
Chapter 7: Towards universal sanitation: the Cambodian case
The statistics related to inadequate sanitation globally are sobering. It is estimated that around 2.6 billion people on the planet do not have access to an improved sanitation facility (WSSCC 2012a). Of those 2.6 billion people, around 70 per cent live in rural areas and 1 billion still openly defecate (WSSCC 2012a). At the conclusion of the Water Week conference in Stockholm in August 2011, the Chair of UN Water stated United Nations(UN) Water’s wish to set an explicit target of achieving ‘universal provisioning of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and modern energy services by the year 2030’ (UNHABITAT 2011). More immediately though, one of the specific targets of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was to ‘halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation’. In regard to this target, a recent UN assessment of the progress in meeting the various MDGs determined that the first part of this two-part goal was on track to be exceeded with the percentage of people with access to clean drinking water well in excess of the target. Unfortunately though, the second part of the target, access to basic sanitation, was unlikely to be met by 2015. In Cambodia, the picture is one that has been greatly defined by previous internal conflict, which has left the country economically disadvantaged with a relatively low standard of living and poor infrastructure.
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