DSG launches new campaign to break silence on open defecation

30 May, 2014

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As part of his Call to Action on Sanitation, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, launched on 28 May a new campaign to break silence on open defecation and spur dialogue and action on the most lacking target of the MDGs.

I am here to talk about something the world chooses not to talk about” Mr. Eliasson said in New York at the launch of the campaign, which urges people to search “open defecation” on the internet, to know more about the issue and participate in the solutions.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the reality of open defecation. The fact that the issue is so poorly understood or even known in many parts of the world is one important reason why inadequate sanitation is not getting the attention and the resources it requires. Various communications tools, which can be adapted to different communities around the world, will be made available to individuals and organizations working on the topic.

As part of the launch, the new Sesame Street Muppet Raya – created specifically to engage children on the important messages surrounding sanitation and proper latrine use in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria made a special report on the importance of good sanitation.

Considerable progress has been made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty. But one third of humanity (2.5 billion people) still does not have access to adequate sanitation, which has dramatic consequences on human health, dignity, security, the environment, and social and economic development. Over one billion people worldwide practice open defecation, one of the clearest manifestations of extreme poverty.

Recognizing that greater progress on sanitation is essential for fighting poverty and for achieving all the MDGs, UN Deputy Secretary‐General Jan Eliasson is initiating, on behalf of the Secretary‐General, a renewed effort to drive progress on sanitation and water goals as we head towards 2015 and end the practice of open defecation by 2025.

For more information and view the full campaign please visit: opendefecation.org.