Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, said that the lack of drinking water is a global moral failure that has devastating consequences for humanity.

“If I may be candid: it is a moral failure that we live in a world with such high levels of technical innovation and success, but we continue to allow billions of people to exist without clean drinking water or the basic tools to wash their hands,” he said on Thursday while addressing a high-level meeting to promote the implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.

“And make no mistake, this is a global failure that has far-reaching implications for all of us.”

Water is integral to sustainable development. But the world is well behind on the related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, he said.

By current estimates, 2.2 billion people, almost a third of the global population, continue to lack access to safely managed drinking water; 4.2 billion people, more than half of the planet’s population, live without safely managed sanitation; 2 billion people don’t have a decent toilet of their own; 3 billion people lack basic handwashing facilities, even in the middle of a global pandemic, according to Bozkir.

The UNGA President called for tangible, concrete actions to mitigate the situation.

He also asked the international community to work closely with civil society groups and with young people to strengthen water-related goals and activities.