World Water Day Celebration in New York City
UN-Water Event on Sanitation
Merchant’s Gate at Central Park, 20 March 2008, 12:00 - 14:00
2008 is the International Year of Sanitation. Its aim is to mobilize renewed commitment to
address the global sanitation crisis of 2.6 billion people, 42% of the world’s population,
living without access to basic sanitation.
For IYS 2008, the UN-Water celebration of World Water Day, on 20 March 2008, will focus
on sanitation. In New York, the WWD celebration will take place at Merchant’s Gate at
Central Park (near Columbus Circle) and come together around two elements:
1. an installation of figures conveying the message “where would you hide” (if you did
not have access to a toilet), and
2. a “longest toilet line” queue of people lining up ‘to use’ a toilet.
For this event, the UN-Water Task Force on Sanitation is collaborating with the German
Toilet Organization (GTO) who has designed a vivid awareness-raising installation,
“Sanitation is Dignity”, a traveling exhibition that has been successfully held in a number of
countries. The core message conveyed by the exhibit is that sanitation is human dignity
– SO MANY OF THE WORLD’S POOR LACK THIS BASIC HUMAN RIGHT AND ARE FORCED TO
DEFECATE IN THE OPEN. The exhibition places the viewer in this predicament with
squatting life size figures asking, “Where would you hide?”
Below is a picture of the exhibition as it appeared in Frankfurt in 2007:
Media will be invited to cover the event; spokespersons of UN agencies in the UN-Water
Sanitation Task Force (incl. UNICEF, UNDP) will be available for interviews.
People in the “longest toilet line” will be holding placards with IYS messages and
information about the consequence of the sanitation crisis. Fliers will be handed out which
provide information on the problem of sanitation globally and direct the interested public to
the IYS web site for information on how to get involved.