Berto Jongman: UN Deputy Jan Eliasson on Water

12 Water
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

‘Water is peace, life, dignity’: why the UN deputy chief has a thirst for saving lives

For almost a quarter of a century, UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson has been an indefatigable champion of the right to water and sanitation for all

He reels off the statistics to show how far there is yet to go: “1.8 billion people worldwide drink contaminated water; 2.4 billion people lack improved sanitation. In poor countries, 90% of sewage is discharged untreated into rivers, lakes and coastal areas. An estimated 800 to 900 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases. “If we continue on our current path, the world may face a 40% shortfall in water availability by 2030.