Final Report Hand-over Ceremony of UNSGAB
November 20, 2015
ECOSOC Chamber, the United Nations Headquarters
New York, the U.S.A.
Your Majesty Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands
Your Excellency Mr. Jan Eliasson Deputy Secretary-General
Your Excellency Dr. Uschi Eid, Chair of UNSGAB
Distinguished UNSGAB Members
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to be with you in the Final Report Hand-over Ceremony of UNSGAB.
UNSGAB is completing its long journey of 11 years. Since it was established in 2004, 1.4 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources and 1.2 billion to improved sanitation facilities. The pace of the gain since 2004 compared to the previous period of 1990 through 2004 was 20% faster for drinking water, and 30% faster for sanitation. I would like to congratulate all countries and the international community for this significant achievement. I am proud to be one of thousands and millions of people who made relentless efforts to provide safe drinking water and sanitation for their families, communities, countries and for the world.
The Board was led by prominent chairs. The late Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto built a solid foundation of the group. Three Hashimoto Action Plans are named after him and are testimony of UNSGAB. His Majesty King Willem-Alexander has made outstanding achievements on both water and sanitation. One of his numerous achievements has been to remove the stigma from toilets and sanitation, as was seen yesterday in the World Toilet Day. His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal shed new light on water issues in the Middle East. Dr. Uschi Eid, the current Chair, has dedicated herself to the Board as Member and Vice Chair since its establishment. The Final Report completed under her leadership will be the legacy of the Board.
Many organizations and individuals have supported and collaborated with UNSGAB. Without their help, UNSGAB would have achieved very little. I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all who have helped and worked with us.
My journey was also fruitful. I have attended UNSGAB meetings, visited local sites and people, studied and discussed water and sanitation issues with Board members and experts. I delivered messages in global conferences especially through historical perspectives, such as the World Water Forum and the UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters. I could learn a lot on the issues relating to water and sanitation in the process of taking part in activities together with the members of UNSGAB, which I think was a magnificent experience to me.
Despite all of our accomplishments, we still have a long road ahead of us. Some 663 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.4 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation. Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, global leaders have agreed on new goals and targets. SDGs related to water and sanitation, which was succinctly shaped by UN-Water Commission with the advice of UNSGAB, has given us ambitious and concrete directions forward. The international community is about to set sail for new SDGs. Important occasions such as the COP21 and HABITAT III are beckoning on the horizon. I hope the UNSGAB Final Report launched today will serve as an important guidepost.
I am proud that I have joined you in serving the UN and the international community for the cause of water and sanitation, which has resulted in many achievements. We cannot, however, afford stopping here. I will continue, together with you, my journey of serving the world towards “water and sanitation for all”.