Poverty, inequality and unequal power relationships are the main cause of the current global water and sanitation crisis, according to a paper titled “The human right to water and sanitation: benefits and limitations” which is contained in a UN report: The Right to Water – Current Situation and Future Challenges.
Despite the gravity of the situation, water and sanitation rarely make the headlines in the news media. The financial and human cost of the crisis is humongous.
“The global damage caused by diseases and productivity losses related to unclean water and poor sanitation is estimated at a staggering US 170 billion dollars per year with developing countries’ economies bearing the brunt of this burden. Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 5 % of GDP or US 28,4 billion per year, a figure that exceeded total aid flow and debt relief into the region in 2003,” states the report.
Such a hemorrhage is clearly unacceptable, and for Sub-Saharan Africa it is clear that lack of access to water and sanitation is not only about health and development; it is an economic imperative. Continue reading