In May 2005, at the 13th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13), the international community agreed to improve access to sanitation, water, and human settlements.

In 2006, the United Nations General Assembly designated 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation (IYS). The overall objective of IYS is to accelerate progress in providing adequate basic sanitation for the 2.6 billion people worldwide who lack access to this fundamental human right.

Access to sanitation is vital to ensuring health, dignity and sustainable social and economic development for the world’s poorest citizens.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for sanitation is to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the world’s population without sustainable access to basic sanitation.”

At current rates of progress this target will not be met. IYS was to help position the issue of sanitation more prominently on the global agenda by raising the issue’s profile with politicians, civil society, the media and the general public. IYS focused on the need to take immediate, effective action in order to boost the rate at which sanitation is achieved, so as to put the global community on track to meet the MDG target.

launch photo

IYS was officially launched globally on the 21st of November 2007.