Photograph — Getty Images

Global Citizen, an international advocacy organization and P&G, a global leading consumer product company will host an exclusive morning reception in celebration of the World Water Day tomorrow at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Nigeria. The World Water Day celebration will serve as an opportunity to call on the Nigerian government to initiate solutions that will lead to clean water and sanitation for Nigerians.

World Water Day is an annual United Nations observance day on the importance of water and its sustainable management. It is usually observed on the 22nd of March by many countries around the world, Nigeria included. This year, Global Citizen will be using its platform of young people to demand change and call on the Nigerian government to honor its responsibility of fulfilling the sixth SDG Goal of clean water and sanitation for all people.

For Nigeria, poor access to water and sanitation are some of the major reasons for the high mortality rate in children under five. Contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation increase the risk of children contacting water-borne diseases. For Nigeria to overcome these challenges, it needs to allocate at least 1.7 percent of its GDP to adequate Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) for its citizens.

Hence, the breakfast reception will feature high-level discussions with Nigerian government representatives on how to solve these problems. Nigeria’s Minister for Water Resources Suleiman Adamu will be giving a keynote address on how Nigeria is solving these problems. There will also be a panel discussion to be moderated by Nigerian journalist Chika Oduah which will feature other decision makers, activists for clean water and sanitation. There will also be a music performance by Falana and an appearance from Nigerian-American actress and “Orange Is The New Black” star Uzo Aduba.

The reception will also be a continuation of a conversation on sanitation that began at the 2016 Global Citizen Festival in New York. Nigeria’s former Environment Minister, now the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed committed achieving open defecation status in Nigeria by 2025 or sooner. Then, Nigeria’s Minister for Water Resources Suleiman Adamu in 2017 committed to getting 5.5 million Nigerians out of open defecation status by the end of 2018. Nigeria is also cited to have the second largest number of people who defecate in the open globally and largest in Africa in the last 15 years, according to UNICEF. 

At the 2018 Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 held in South Africa in December 2018, the Cross River State Government committed $15 million over the next five years to water and sanitation, specifically to ending open defecation in Cross River. Ahead of the World Water Day event, Global Citizens are also asking additional Nigerian Governors to step up, and commit the funds needed to make clean water and sanitation a reality for all in Nigeria, and help end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

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