a year after the World Summit on Sustainable Development (wssd) that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the commission following up on its outcomes is preparing to meet for its 12th session. The meeting, to be held in April next year in New York, will see the Commission on Sustainable Development (csd) addressing substantive issues such as water, sanitation and human settlements. But the world's governments face an uphill battle on all these fronts.
In 2000, one in every five people in the world was not getting safe drinking water and twice as many did not have access to basic sanitation. To achieve the goal of halving the number of people who are not provided safe drinking water by the year 2015, governments would need to ensure that another 270,000 people get the facility every day for the next 12 years. Similarly, the 2015 target to halve the world's population without basic sanitation would also not be met unless 370,000 more people are provided the amenity daily for the next 12 years.
These targets form the Millennium Development goals set in 2000. Member nations reiterated their pledge to achieve them at wssd. In a message in his capacity as the chairperson of csd-12, Norwegian environment minister Brge Brende said: "I will make it a priority to uphold the political momentum from Johannesburg in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements."
At its 11th session held in May this year, the csd prioritised various issues to be addressed in the outcome document of the wssd -- the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation -- into two-year cycles (see: 'Keeping track', June 15, 2003). The issues mentioned by Brende fall in the first cycle of 2004-2005.
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