Over 2% of Deaths in Brazil Are Due to Lack of Basic Sanitation

A cistern in the Brazilian Northeast Brazil is poised to reach the millennium goals established by the United Nations with regard to access to drinking water. The evaluation is by Antônio Miranda, a member of the Advisory Board of the Secretariat General of the UN, who participated this Friday, December 5, in the seminar Brazil in the International Year of Sanitation.

In case Miranda's forecast comes true, up to 2015 the number of people without access to drinking water should be considerably reduced.

"The UN target is to reduce by half the number of people without access to drinking water and sanitation. From what I have seen, Brazil should manage, without greater difficulties, to reach targets with regard to water," he said.

According to him, the country should have difficulties to reach targets related to sewage. "I have not yet had access to studies that take into consideration the Growth Acceleration Plan (PAC), but I believe that, in the case of sewage, the situation should be more complicated," he said.

"I believe that in the next evaluation, to include the PAC, Brazil should come closer to the targets. I am optimistic with regard to the Plan, but I am not yet certain that there are mechanisms for adequate control of costs," he concluded

According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization in 192 countries, Brazil, in 2002, had 28.7 deaths for every 1,000 people due to bad water and lack of basic sanitation, that is, 2.3% of all the deaths in the country, that year.

On Target

The president of state-controlled oil multinational Petrobras, José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, in September, participated in a debate promoted by the UN in order to ensure that the "United Nations Millennium Development Goals" are met by 2015. The event was attended by approximately 100 heads of state and government, as well as non-government organizations.

The meeting featured discussions about the progress that has been done since the "Eight Millennium Development Goals" were approved, in the year 2000, in New York, by 124 heads of state and government, including Brazil. Gabrielli talked about poverty and hunger.

The Eight Millennium Development Goals approved in 2000 are: 1. Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty 2. Achieve Universal Primary Education 3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women 4. Reduce Child Mortality 5. Improve Maternal Health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases 7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability 8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development

A recent survey between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows, however, that the price hike has reverted progress made towards achievement of the first Millennium Goal, of reducing by half the number of hungry people worldwide.

According to the FAO, the total of famished people in the world in 2007 rose to 923 million, the equivalent to 17% of the global population. By the new calculations of the FAO, achievement of the goal by 2015 is becoming increasingly unlikely.

According to analysts, the high prices of foods, fuels and fertilizers have made the problem even worse. In 2007 and 2008, food prices increased 52% and those of fertilizers nearly doubled.

In December, the FAO launched the FAO Initiative on Soaring Food Prices, so as to help more vulnerable countries to create emergency measures for enabling easier access to food. The program is being conducted in at least 78 countries, most of them African.

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