#GlobalCall4Water: UN calls for action on sanitation and access to water to stop COVID-19
In mid-May, we posted on this blog the document published by Water Europe stating that one of the keys to post-Covid-19 recovery would be to move towards a "Water Smart Society". At that time, the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) platform - created to achieve the sixth United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) - was calling for the same direction.

Heads of State, Government and leaders of UN agencies, as well as international financial institutions, civil society, the private sector and research and learning industries began to advocate for the prioritization of water, sanitation and hygiene in the response to COVID-19.

The movement became visible on social media through the hashtag #GlobalCall4Water. Months later, the pandemic is still a harsh reality around the world and these movements are still very active, gaining more and more support.  

Call to action on Covid-19 and water to save lives 

"Until there's a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, there's no better cure than prevention." This was the beginning of the joint statement issued by SWA, which noted that those world leaders who joined it and therefore recognized "the role of water, sanitation and hygiene in preventing the spread of COVID-19" would save lives. In the same spirit, the statement emphasized that "leaders who prioritize collaboration and international support will save lives.”

One of the main problems identified since the beginning of the pandemic was that many safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 involved access to running water in enough doses. This is not easy in many countries.

That is why the movement initiated by the foundation called on national, regional and global leaders to unite to:
  • Making water, sanitation and hygiene available to all. 
  • Working in partnership with all stakeholders in a coordinated manner to improve water and sanitation services, as each player, whether public, private, donor or civil society, has something to offer to protect populations from the COVID-19. 
  • Ensure that water and sanitation systems are resilient and sustainable to protect people's health and support national healthcare systems 
  • Prioritize the mobilization of funding to support countries in their response to this crisis 
  • Delivering accurate information in a transparent manner.

A very well supported initiative

With the statement "as leaders, this is our chance to save lives," responses and support for the SWA Call to Action were quick to follow. Heads of State and Government from countries such as Austria, Colombia, Egypt, Jordan, Burkina Faso and Nepal signed the document. In fact, among them is also Spain, with the current president of the government, Pedro Sanchez, as a signatory. 

The UN itself, UNESCO, WHO, UNHCR; foundations such as the H&M clothing store chain or private sector companies such as SUEZ, Unilever and Aqualia - among many others - also added their support. 

The call has even been echoed in Hollywood, as actor Matt Damon is co-founder of Water.org and WaterEquity did not hesitate to join the cause. His partner, Gary White, said, "Water is involved in everything, and this pandemic is no exception. The first line of defense is to wash your hands, which is possible if you have safe water. We must ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene are available to all to prevent the spread of disease today and to support the health and resilience of our global community tomorrow.”

All in all, the lines to be followed seem more than clear. It is only a matter of time before we know if we will be able to act effectively.

If you have found this article interesting, you can find other topics and information about DAGA in our blog.
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