"Developing countries have already achieved their 2015 [Millennium Development Goal (MDG)] of drastically reducing the number of people without regular access to improved drinking water, though much of the credit lies with India and China," UNICEF and the WHO said in a joint report (.pdf) on Tuesday, Reuters reports (Charbonneau, 3/6). "According to the [WHO] and UNICEF joint monitoring program for water supply and sanitation (JMP), between 1990 and 2010 more than two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells" and "at the end of 2010, 89 percent of the population -- 6.1 billion people -- now used improved drinking water sources, one percent more than the 88 percent target contained in [MDG] number seven, set in 2000," the Guardian writes (Ford, 3/6).
"United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this was 'a great achievement for the people of the world' and noted it was one of the first MDGs to be met," Reuters writes in a separate article (Kelland, 3/6). UNICEF's Executive Director Anthony Lake in a statement "cautioned against declaring victory too early, as at least 11 percent of the world's population -- or 783 million people -- still have no safe drinking water, and some 2.5 billion do not have improved sanitation facilities," a UNICEF press release notes (3/6). "UNICEF and WHO called for greater attention to water and sanitation needs in rural areas across the globe where millions of poor people still have no access," the Associated Press writes (Lederer, 3/6).