More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on March 22 in a message to mark World Water Day
The United Nations children's agency UNICEF noted that more than 155 million people, or 39 percent of the population in West and Central Africa, do not have access to potable water, with only eight of 24 countries in the region on track to meet key poverty-reduction targets by 2015.
"These deaths are an affront to our common humanity, and undermine the efforts of many countries to achieve their development potential," Ban said as the issue was discussed at a high-level UN General Assembly dialogue.
"Day after day, we pour millions of tons of untreated sewage and industrial and agricultural wastes into the world's water systems," he said, noting that clean water has become scarce and would be even scarcer as a result of climate change.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised the stakes, saying that global peace and security will depend on access to water.