Every year, on 19 November, the Islamic Development Bank joins the international community in observing World Toilet Day. It is a unique opportunity to highlight this important topic and take concrete actions against the global sanitation crisis. Almost half of the worldwide population – 3.6 billion people – lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities.
Poor sanitation contaminates drinking water sources resulting in widespread waterborne diseases. The impact on child mortality rates is devastating, with more than 700 children under five dying every day from diarrheal illnesses due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water.
This year’s theme is valuing toilets, which are the first line of defense against waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera. Therefore, safe toileting can be considered as a “super vaccine.”
Promoting safely managed sanitation can save thousands of lives. It can also drive improvements in gender equality, education, environment, and economics. It is estimated that for every US$ 1 invested in basic sanitation, up to US$ 5 is returned in saved medical costs and increased productivity. In addition, jobs are created along the entire service chain. Toilets are extremely valuable, and investing in sanitation can bring immense advantages to humanity.
Achieving universal access to safely managed sanitation by 2030 will require a four-fold increase in current rates of progress.Therefore, we urgently need massive investment and innovation to tackle this global sanitation crisis. Annually, US$ 20.6 billion is required to provide safely managed sanitation facilities to the population in 49 lower, lower-middle, and upper-middle-income IsDB member states by 2030.
IsDB values the importance of sanitation. The components of increasing sanitation investments, capacity development, and promoting sanitation innovations have been highlighted in the Urban and Water Policies and their Operational Strategies recently approved by IsDB.
In recent years, IsDB has developed several projects solely dedicated to providing sanitation infrastructures and services. Nevertheless, we understand that more investments and efforts are required to address the sanitation problems in IsDB member countries, a requirement IsDB cannot fulfill alone.
Therefore, we take this opportunity to extend our hands for partnerships and collaborative sanitation actions. We reiterate our commitment and solidarity with the Global Sanitation Movement.
Chief Products and Partnerships Officer, IsDB