More than 50 children from across the world participated at the two-day conference in Tajikistan
Children and youth from more than 12 countries urged world leaders at an international conference to include them in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. At least 60 children made this appeal at the two-day International High Level Conference on Water for Life held from June 9-10 in Tajikistan. The children belonged to the host country as well as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, South Korea, the Philippines, Ukraine, the US and Zambia, says a UNICEF press release.
“All children have the universal right to water and sanitation. Despite progress, many children have been left behind in the push to reach the Millennium Development Goals. These children represent the poorest and most vulnerable populations, and must be a priority in the post-2015 development agenda,” said said Kamila Muhabbatova, a girl from Tajikistan, during a speech at the conference in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. “We emphasise the importance of involving children and young people in establishing priorities pertaining to water, sanitation and hygiene. And we stand committed to be active partners in achieving these goals,” she added.
Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s global chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), welcomed the call to action. “These children are sending a clear and important message: ‘Listen to us and let us do this together.’ These issues affect them not only at home but also in their communities and schools,” the press release quotes Wijesekera. He emphasised that the world must do better for children. “Adequate water, sanitation and hygiene are vital to the future of our world and these young people know it. Without those basic rights, diseases devastate them, leaving them ill and wasted, cutting into their time in school, lessening their chance at a good education and, indeed, their very chance of survival,” he said.
The children also participated in a Children’s WASH Forum organised by UNICEF and the Government of Tajikistan. This forum, held from June 6-8, aimed to help children contribute to global discussions on the critical issues of water, sanitation and hygiene and advance the goal of giving WASH access to all children everywhere—at home, in communities, at school, and during disaste
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