Unglamorous but fit for a Prince

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The Prince of Orange with Ban Ki-moonThe reason most often mentioned for the lack of progress in improving sanitation worldwide is that it is a taboo subject and that access to toilets and clean water are subjects not fit for fine society.

Not so says the heir to the Dutch crown, the Prince of Orange, His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

The Prince has been a prominent advocate in raising awareness and urging action worldwide to improve the global water and sanitation situation. He has been Patron of the Global Water Partnership since 1998 and Chairperson of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation

In that capacity he attended the launch last spring of “Sustainable Sanitation: The Five-Year-Drive to 2015,” a major push by the UN to improve the health and well-being of millions of people worldwide. The Prince noted that sanitation is arguably the most overlooked and less advanced MDG target.

“It is unglamorous, yet vital,” he stated. “Neglecting the need for proper toilets allows a slow moving crisis to continue.”

The main messages of the new drive, the Prince added, are that sanitation is vital for health, brings dignity, equality and safety, represents a good economic investment and sustains clean environments.

Sanitation maybe unglamorous sanitation but it is vital. The definition is access to, and use of, excreta and wastewater facilities and services that ensure privacy and dignity, ensuring a clean and healthy living environment for all.

“Clean water and sanitation are not only about hygiene and disease, they’re about dignity, too. “Everyone, and that means ALL the people in the world, has the right to a healthy life and a life with dignity. In other words: everyone has the right to sanitation,” says Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.