On World Toilet Day, UN Highlights Human Rights Challenge for SDG Target 6.2
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The UN, governments and civil society observed World Toilet Day 2017, focused on the theme, ‘Toilets and Wastewater,’ highlighting the need for safe treatment and disposal of fecal waste.

The Toilet Board Coalition announced research findings showing that the "sanitation economy" offers US$62 billion in business opportunities in India alone.

While SDG target 6.2 calls for universal sanitation, 2.3 billion people worldwide lack access to basic toilet facilities.

19 November 2017: The UN, governments and civil society observed World Toilet Day 2017, with messages focused on the theme, ‘Toilets and Wastewater,’ which stressed the need for safe treatment and disposal of fecal waste. On the occasion, UN-Water, UNICEF, the International Chamber of Commerce and several governments reported on progress towards SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation).

While SDG target 6.2 calls for universal sanitation, 2.3 billion people worldwide lack access to basic toilet facilities. Prior to the Day, which is marked annually on 19 November, UN-Water launched a set of resources that could be used in conjunction with events to showcase the sanitation challenge, including a set of social media messages, infographics and short film.

Léo Heller, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, called for incorporating a human rights perspective in campaigns to eliminate open defecation, as he reported back from a two-week official visit to India. Heller highlighted the need to better manage greywater and fecal sludge, improve access to safe drinking water, and address groundwater contamination by pathogens, arsenic and fluoride. He emphasized that SDG 6.2 on sanitation requires special attention to the needs of women and girls, and those in vulnerable situations, and expressed concern about the situation of manual scavengers who are responsible for emptying latrines. The Government of India launched a ‘Clean India Mission’ in 2014 that seeks to eliminate open defecation by October 2019. Heller will submit a full report of his findings to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018.

In the lead-up to World Toilet Day, the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) highlighted its support for the Cambodia Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Programme (CRSHIP). Since 2010, WSSCC has provided CRSHIP with over US$10 million for behavior change activities, implemented by Plan International Cambodia. WSSCC presented on its work at an international conference on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), which took place from 15-17 November 2017, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia, the CLTS Foundation and Plan International. WSSCC also highlighted a range of events and resources launched to mark the Day: a virtual seminar on technical issues for dealing with wastewater and fecal sludge, a social media campaign, and a video featuring cartoon character Freddy the Fly, illustrating the dangers of open defecation.

On the occasion of World Toilet Day, the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC) announced research findings showing that the “sanitation economy” offers US$62 billion in business opportunities in India alone. The sanitation economy comprises three areas: the “toilet economy” that promotes innovation in toilet products and services; the “circular sanitation economy” that replaces traditional waste management of human waste; and the “smart sanitation economy” that produces digitized sanitation systems capable of providing health information. The TBC called on business leaders around the world to join global companies such as Unilever and Kimberly-Clark that are already engaged in the sanitation economy. [World Toilet Day Website] [World Toilet Day Webpage on UN Event] [OHCHR Press Release] [Statement of Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation] [WSSCC Press Release on Cambodia Sanitation Conference] [WSSCC Webpage on Resources for World Toilet Day] [UN-Water Social Media Messages] [Toilet Board Coalition Website]


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