The EU is rightly held as one of the world’s leaders on international development. The EU and its 28 member states make up the world’s largest aid donor, contributing more than 50% of the world’s overseas development assistance. Collectively they are also the largest donors to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. This is why WaterAid works to ensure that WASH is at the heart of the EU’s international development policy. We have seen through our own history in Europe that health, welfare and productivity improvements are closely linked with improvements in access to WASH. Taps and toilets may not be glamorous, but they have a transformative effect on people’s lives. Without them, hospitals cannot function, children cannot go to school and women and girls are prevented from fully participating in society. To maximise the impact of EU Aid and development policy it is therefore crucial to fully integrate WASH into all of the EU’s overseas health, nutrition, education, disability, gender equality and climate programmes and strategies. If we do not acknowledge and act on the fundamental role of WASH in achieving sustainable development, we will never successfully end aid dependency. To demonstrate the importance of WASH integration and call on the EU to do more, WaterAid have created three EU thematic inserts: WASH and health; WASH and nutrition; and WASH and gender. Download the gender insert In English > In French > Download the health insert In English > In French > Download the nutrition insert In English > In French > History has shown that when the EU moves on global development the world sits up and listens. The EU must continue to lead on promoting long-term sustainable development policies and ensure that WASH is positioned as a core element in an integrated EU response to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development. Follow @wateraid on Twitter to keep up to date with WaterAid's work across the world.