South Africa is ready to sign a memorandum of understanding with Finland on access to water and sanitation as a basic human right, says Dr Trevor Blazer of the Department of Water and Sanitation.
Finland’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Jaana Husu-Kallio expresses the hope that Water Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will go to Helsinki to ink the deal which has been delayed by the COVID lockdown.
Finland has launched a programme entitled WASH that involves governments, research organisations and civil society in ensuring access to clean water and sanitization -particularly for women and girls.
It is part of the Scandinavian country’s bid to win a three-year term on the United Nations Human Rights Council when elections are held in October
Ambassador Anne Lammila told the delegates participating in Pretoria and Helsinki that 2,2 billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water and 4,2 billion lack safely managed sanitation services.
“The impact on child mortality rates is devastating with more than 297 000 under five whondhe annually from diarrhea diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene or unsafe drinking water,” she says.
Dr Dhesigen Naidoo of the Water Research Commission says loss of earning globally from woman and children being excluded from the economy for health reasons amounts to $100 billion a year.