Australia has a proud history of influence and leadership on global water, sanitation and hygiene issues. Yet we do not have a specific strategy in place that sets out the roadmap for our contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation by 2030.
Water and sanitation funding comes from the Australian aid program - which is the main mechanism in which Australia contributes to lifting people out of extreme poverty in our region. Over recent years, the Australian aid budget has been significantly reduced, which, in turn, has resulted in cut funding for critical programs that ensure people in our region receive vital health, education, water and sanitation initiatives.
Our partners WaterAid Australia and the Australian WASH Reference Group are seeking to put this issue back on the agenda by calling on the Australian Government to release an action plan that steps out how the government will support regional efforts to provide access to clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene over the coming decade.
The reason this is so critical right now is because:
* Globally, 31% of schools do not have clean water and 34% lack decent toilets.
* 2.3 billion people do not have a decent toilet of their own.
* 844 million people do not have clean water close to home.
* A newborn dies every minute from an infection caused by a lack of safe water and an unclean environment.
* Around the world, up to 443 million school days are lost every year because of water-related illnesses.
* Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets kills a child under 5 every 2 minutes.
We can prevent this but we need your help. Stand up for water, sanitation and hygiene to ensure those deeply in need throughout the Asia-Pacific have safe toilets, clean water, access to proper menstrual hygiene products and appropriate water management systems. Sign the petition calling on Australia to advance its leadership and invest in water, sanitation and hygiene.