Aiming For A Better World
Human development and human security
are about much more than economic growth. Human development lays the
groundwork for a better world: a world without poverty, where education
and good health can be enjoyed by all.
access to even the
most basic water and
sanitation facilities would
systems in developing
1.6 billion US dollars each
Clean water and sanitation are closely
tied to human development. The second biggest killer of children worldwide
is the combination of dirty water and lack of sanitation. They kill
4900 children each day. Universal access to even the most basic water
and sanitation facilities would save health systems in developing
countries about 1.6 billion
US dollars each year. When children
walk long distances to fetch water or when they get sick because they
drink unclean water, they miss school and seriously harm their education.
Poor education and health cripple their ability to work, and they
sink into a vicious cycle of nearly inescapable poverty.
Fortunately, huge improvements are possible.
The Human Development Report’s Global Plan calculates that we need
10 billion US dollars annually to meet the Millennium Development
Goals and drastically improve access to clean water and sanitation
all over the world. Although 10 billion dollars may seem a lot, the
governments of the world spend that amount on military hardware every
eight days! Imagine the implications if we used a tiny percentage
of military spending to provide sanitation and clean water for all.
Consider this too: in ruralWest Bengal,
India, huge advances in sanitation, health, and community development
have been achieved at incredibly low cost.
With a small loan, community members
constructed latrines in more than six villages. The money 30 US
dollars per latrine was loaned for one year without interest and
helped the villagers both build the latrines and start family businesses.
Before the latrines were built, villagers relieved themselves in open
fields: a situation lacking hygiene, safety, and privacy.