image by Sun StarThe goal of reducing by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water has been achieved well ahead of the 2015 deadline for reaching the globally agreed target. Over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources between 1990 and 2010, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Halving the number of people without access to clean drinking water is one of the first targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be met, according to a joint report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization. The MDG’s are aimed at ridding the world of extreme poverty, hunger and preventable diseases.

“Today we recognize a great achievement for the people of the world,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said upon the release of the report. “The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water are a testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but as a vital tool for improving the lives of millions of the poorest people.”

At the end of 2010, some 89 percent of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved drinkingwater sources, such as piped supplies and protected Water hose Africa - UNICEF photowells — passing the MDG target of 88 percent.

The report estimates that by 2015, some 92 percent of the global population will have access to improved drinking water.

“For children this is especially good news,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Every day more than 3,000 children die from diarrhoeal diseases. Achieving this goal will go a long way to saving children’s lives.”

Lenny Kravitz steps in to help

Meanwhile, Lenny Kravitz, the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, record producer and actor, has thrown his support behind the global effort by UNICEF and its partners to help save and improve the lives of millions of children and their families around the world by providing them with access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

Lenny Kravitz UNICEF Water Ambassador

“I was born in New York City and have always taken access to clean water as a given,” said Mr. Kravitz. “No child should die of diarrhoea from drinking dirty water. That thousands of children under the age of five continue to die every day because they lack clean water and basic sanitation is simply unacceptable.”

Mr. Kravitz will be appearing in public service announcements and on Twitter and Facebook with a message that all children can – and must – have access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

The musician, who recently released the album ‘Black and White America,’ is joining forces with UNICEF to help mark World Water Day on 22 March and will send a global message of the importance of investing in children and providing them with clean water and sanitation.

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