BALI, Indonesia, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Fourteen governments from East Asia and the Pacific kicked off the 3rd East Ministerial Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene in Bali on Monday in a bid to achieve the ultimate goal of universal sanitation access in the region.
Over 250 participants will take part in the conference, from government ministers and officials, partner organizations to media and academia from China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam.
Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi opened the conference at the Nusa Dua tourist resort hotel in Bali.
Quoting the Unicef/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme report that the region as a whole has reached the sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) as of 2012, World Bank Water and Sanitation Program principal regional team leader Almud Weitz said in her opening remarks that reaching the MDG is a very important stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of universal sanitation access.
However, large disparities remain across the region as more than 670 million people still lack improved sanitation facilities and over 100 million people still practice open defecation.