United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has noted that the world is lagging in its efforts to aid the number of people who lack access to decent sanitation; he called for concrete measures from Member States and civil society groups to remedy the problem.

Mr. Ban told the first preparatory meeting for the International Year of Sanitation, which will be marked in 2008, that “access to sanitation is a fundamental issue of human dignity and human rights, and also of economic development and environmental protection.”

Approimately 2.6 billion people worldwide don’t have access to basic sanitation services.

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