Paving the way to the Sustainable Development Goals

2015 is a critical year for getting taps and toilets to the top of the global agenda – and this weekend’s negotiations at the UN have just brought us one step closer.


3 Aug 2015 | AU

In just a few weeks, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will end, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that replace them will be finalised, with the aim of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

It's an incredible opportunity, one that could change the course of our future, which is why we joined action/2015 – a global movement to make sure world leaders set ambitious targets for determining what happens to our world.

And this weekend, we were thrilled to see history being made, as government negotiators at the United Nations set a historic target for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the new SDGs.

If their decision is endorsed in September – when Heads of State and Governments meet at a critical summit in New York – it would put universal access to WASH at the heart of the new goals, giving hope to the one in ten people living without access to basic water and the one in three without access to a toilet.

What it means for WASH

Since 2012, WaterAid and other organisations have been calling for a globally agreed SDG dedicated to water and sanitation.

With sanitation one of the most off-track of the existing Millennium Development Goals, we know prioritising WASH is critical to ending extreme poverty by 2030.

And while we welcome the outcome of the weekend's negotiations, we remain concerned about a number of points, including how member states will report and monitor the agreed targets, and when certain countries will start their implementation of the plan.

A commitment to transforming lives

Regarding the negotiations, Paul Nichols, WaterAid Australia's Chief Executive, said:

"The UN negotiators have taken an important step closer to achieving a globally agreed SDG dedicated to water and sanitation.

"We welcome the agreement, the work of member state negotiators and most significantly, the overarching commitment to end extreme poverty through sustainable development by 2030.

"We recommend Heads of State and Governments give their final endorsement to this plan.

"We call on them to bring clear and practical national commitments that show how they will make the ambition of the SDGs a reality. Only by doing this can we end water, sanitation and hygiene poverty."