No one left behind: Good practices to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation in the pan-European region
UNECE, 2012by: Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) The title of this publication reflects its objectives, content and aspirations: to provide guidance on how to ensure that all members of the population benefit from access to water and sanitation in an equitable manner.
Left behind in the pan-European region are 12 per cent of population, nearly 110 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water. The World Health Organization estimates that 13,000 children under the age of 14 die every year in the region from water-related diarrhoea, mostly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
While the situation is particularly severe for a major part of the population in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, many citizens in Western and Central Europe also suffer from the lack of or inequitable access to water and sanitation services. Inequities are frequently related to socio-cultural differences, socio-economic factors and the geographical context. Persons belonging to vulnerable and marginalized groups often face additional barriers to access compared with ordinary citizens, in particular ethnic minorities, migrants, illegal settlers and persons with disabilities. For people with low incomes, the price of water and sanitation services may be unaffordable and prevent them from enjoying a basic level of services. The increasing level of poverty throughout the region places pressure on household incomes available for basic utilities. In many countries, rural residents do not enjoy the same level of access to safe water and adequate sanitation compared with urban dwellers.