Water Sanitation Health

International Year of Sanitation 2008


The United Nations General Assembly through its Resolution A/C.2/61/L.16/Rev.1 dated 4 December 2006 declared 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation (IYS). The resolution expressed concern on the slow and insufficient progress in providing access to basic sanitation services at the global level and recognized that progress can be attained through active commitment and action by all States, as well as United Nations agencies, regional and international organizations, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

At WHO, ever since its establishment, environmental sanitation has been recognized as a foundation of a sound public health structure. Article 2(l) of its 1948 Constitution calls for the improvement of sanitation and other aspects of environmental hygiene. Over the last 50 years, WHO has generated, evaluated and shared new knowledge on safe disposal of excreta, sewage and community waste, and has been at the forefront of exploring linkages between water, sanitation and health.

WHO has collaborated with key partners on international development efforts to raise the profile of sanitation, such as the International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade (IDWSSD) (1980-1990) and the Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development (2002). In Johannesburg, the MDG target on sanitation was set to halve the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation by 2015.