By Abdoulaye Sene, Executive Secretary of the 9th World Water Forum
World Toilet Day, to be celebrated this Friday 19 November, will be a good opportunity to raise awareness about the need to accelerate access to toilets. This year's theme focuses on the value of toilets and draws attention to the fact that toilets and auxiliary sanitation systems are underfunded, mismanaged and neglected in many parts of the world. Yet, without toilets, it is impossible to play a full role in society, especially for women and girls.
Access to safe sanitation and hygiene services is, however, essential to the enjoyment of basic human rights and a strong international commitment. It is also the primary multidimensional lever for contributing to poverty reduction, improved health and environmental protection. Although progress has been made in increasing accessibility, much remains to be done.
Indeed, according to the latest UN report on new global statistics, at the current rate, achieving universal access to safely managed sanitation services by 2030 remains out of reach. From 2015 to 2020 global coverage fell from 47% to 54% and the world will only reach 67% coverage by 2030, leaving 2.8 billion people without safely managed services (JMP, 2020). In the face of this alarming situation, there is a need to strengthen advocacy and action for the implementation of tangible responses to accelerate universal access to safe sanitation.
As part of the innovations of the 9th World Water Forum, Senegal is working with its partners to meet this challenge, by highlighting sanitation issues and innovations in the sector. This will be done through a dedicated exhibition, called "Sanitation Village" and by integrating sanitation in the different thematic priorities of the Forum, particularly the one entitled "Water security and sanitation". Dakar 2022 will thus be the Forum of concrete answers for sanitation too.