|Water and Sanitation for All: Renewing PAHO’s commitments|
PAHO Director, Dr Mirta Roses was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of the XXXII Congress of the Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, held on Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. During her speech a renewed PAHO’s commitment to its technical cooperation with Member States on issues related to water for human consumption and sanitation in order to accomplish the “unfinished agenda” in our Region was emphasized by PAHO main authority.
Dr. Roses stressed the long history of successes that PAHO has had in the area of water and sanitation; inspiring and supporting the creation of water and sanitation companies in Latin America and the Caribbean, developing appropriate technologies, creating Sanitary Codes and strengthening Ministries of Health for over 70 years.
In order to face “water and sanitation” challenges, PAHO advocates for a stronger UN system to promote peace and human dignity - in which drinking water and sanitation play a key part. PAHO has renewed its goals and strategies to support this mission, and has begun to create “policy briefs” in accordance with the United Nations’ recent declaration defining access to water and sanitation as a human right.
Access to water and sanitation as a human right
PAHO considers drinking water and sanitation as “social goods” because they improve both individual and social well-being. Water also is an “intermediate” global public good, that is, one that contributes to the ultimate global public good of health.
Dr Roses is convinced that “no public health intervention has the potential to make a greater impact on the development of a nation and on individual and collective health, especially among children, pregnant women, and the elderly, than water, sanitation and hygiene combined.”
Focusing our attention on water and sanitation issues has been and will continue to be a crucial part of PAHO’s work in the Region, especially as infectious diseases like cholera reemerge and climate change limits already scarce water resources.
Water and sanitation issues most adversely affect the poorest and most vulnerable populations, including women and minorities, and PAHO’s commitment to equitable health is underlined in our fight for clean water and improved sanitation for all.
PAHO has worked with AIDIS, the Inter-American Association for Environmental and Sanitary Engineering, for over 60 years, and we were pleased to participate once again in their annual conference, held this year in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, from November 5th- 10th, 2010. PAHO participated in both pre-conference symposiums on Water (“Toward a New Culture of Water) and Healthy Housing (Healthy Housing and Disasters), as well as in the conference itself.
PAHO Director keynote speech presentation:
For more information, contact Office of the Director, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)