GIWA Co-Founder, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, met with Hon’ble Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Shinzo Abe, recently. They discussed ways in which Japan and India could collaborate to exchange and share ideas and innovative solutions between both countries, especially in regards to WASH and the protection of crucial aquifers, such as the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers.

During the meeting, His Excellency, the Hon’ble Prime Minister was presented with water from the Ganga River, the life-line for some 500 million people, which is also one of the most threatened rivers in the world. He was also given a letter from GIWA urging the nation of Japan to strongly support WASH as a key sustainable development goal in the United Nation’s post 2015 agenda and in the United Nation’s upcoming Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Framework.

Says excerpts of the letter, “Our world has never seen a population as large as ours today, which is expected to exceed eight billion by 2025 and eleven billion by 2050. At the same time, today, 2.5 billion people have no access to improved sanitation and 768 million people do not have access to improved drinking water. As a direct result, UNICEF estimates that 1,600 children die every day. Without powerful interventions, especially improving access to  sanitation and eliminating open defecation, such death tolls can only rise as populations increase and natural resources become increasingly tainted and diminished.  Such needless deaths will spike even more significantly and drastically in disaster-torn areas, unless a focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) begins to play a more significant role in DRR frameworks as well…

…In this turning point of history, in which the post-2015 agenda and DRR frameworks are being set, we humbly wish to urge Your Excellency to send a strong message to the world in support of comprehensive and unyielding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on water, sanitation and hygiene, with a robust emphasis on sanitation. Given your great nation’s pivotal role in the SDG process, such a stand, taken today, can very well directly save the lives of millions who would otherwise perish due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene conditions.”