Sanitation, drinking-water and health in Pacific island countries : 2015 update and future outlook

Foreword About 6.9 million people in Pacific island countries cannot access improved sanitation. More than 4.8 million cannot access improved water supplies. The United Nations General Assembly recognizes water and sanitation as basic human rights. The General Assembly has called upon governments and international organizations to provide financial resources, build capacity and technology transfer to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking-water and sanitation for all (UN Resolution A/RES/64/292).

This report was jointly prepared by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Pacific Community and UN-Habitat. According to the report, some Pacific island countries are unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goal targets for drinking-water and sanitation.

Basic sanitation and safe drinking-water are essential to alleviate poverty, attain sustainable economic and health development, and deliver primary health care. Without basic sanitation, poor hygiene and unsafe water supplies can lead to sickness, high health-care costs and death.

Pacific island countries face critical climate change challenges. These countries are among the most vulnerable in the world to increasing climate variability and extreme weather conditions.

Sustainable Development Goals were endorsed by the UN General Assembly, which include targets to ensure basic sanitation and safe drinking-water for all. To achieve these targets, strong commitment will be required across a broad range of stakeholders, including governments, international and nongovernmental organizations, the private sector and civil society. We must work together effectively to ensure a future in which all Pacific islanders enjoy access to good sanitation and safe drinking-water.