Delegate Name: Reese Bower
United Nations Development Program
Access to Water and Sanitation
The Republic of Columbia
Forest Hills Eastern
With COVID 19 being a leading issue in Columbia and the world, access to water and sanitation are both more important than ever before. Additionally, COVID has caused large numbers of people to fall into poverty, with an estimated 88-115 million people expected to be pushed below the poverty line due to the pandemic, making it increasingly difficult to find clean water and sanitation. This can lead to a vicious cycle where poverty contributes to disease and disease instills poverty. Without sanitation and hygiene, viruses can spread unchecked and finances have to be spent on managing the effects of diseases instead of other vital issues. Although immediate action is necessary, the United Nations Development Program should work with other countries and focus on long-term solutions that will provide for each nation’s separate needs.
With a watershed critical to its biodiverse ecosystem, Columbia understands the importance of having clean and sustainable water sources. 73% of Columbia’s population uses a safely managed drinking water service. During the pandemic, Columbia has recognized the importance of clean water for handwashing, taking governmental actions to postpone bill payments up to 36 months for lower-income citizens, and reinstalling water services to citizens whose access had been suspended. According to UN-Water Global Analysis, 84% of the Colombian population has access to basic sanitation services. A prominent issue in Colombia is income inequality, which adds to the importance of clean water and sanitation. Colombia also has large rural indigenous populations that lack clean water and soap. The fast-growing population of Columbia could potentially hinder access to clean water and sanitation services, so it is imperative to put a plan in place for providing these basic necessities.
Due to the need for water and sanitation access in rural areas, Columbia suggests starting a program similar to the WASH initiative, which works to educate communities about hygiene issues, especially in schools. WASH has different branches which address education, clean water, sanitation, and climate change. This program not only provides relief but educates people about the issue and helps lower-income countries that lack financial resources to tackle this problem. Additionally, Colombia advises putting temporary sanitation centers in rural communities, as they account for most of those lacking sanitation.