Lack of clean water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene have reached crisis point in the world's poorest countries. As Australians, we have the power to help ease this situation and improve the quality of life for people living in extreme poverty.
In 2000, after world leaders agreed that global poverty is a serious concern for all countries, the United Nations responded with the Millennium Declaration. Signed by 191 nations, including Australia, the Declaration contains 8 clear strategies known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which together aim to halve extreme poverty by the year 2015.
The MDGs acknowledge that a healthy global economy and a safe, prosperous world cannot happen without healthy, educated people whose basic rights are respected. Sending children to school, keeping them healthy with basic medicines and clean water and protecting their rights will help to make solving global poverty possible.
Adding strength to this, the United Nations Human Development Report 2006 found that water and sanitation are essential to realising every one of the MDGs.
As a signatory to the Millennium Declaration, Australia has an important role to play, especially with regard to MDG #7 which aims to reduce by half the number of people without access to clean water by:
increasing funding for water and sanitation projects
improving the quality of our overseas aid
encouraging countries around the world to adopt water as a human right
World Vision Australia endorses the Millennium Development Goals and is supporting Australia's commitment to them through initiatives like Water Health Life. As a result, we're starting to see real health improvements in many poorer communities around the world where these programs have been implemented.