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

In just a few weeks, the 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. It's why we took 115,056 of your signatures to Westminster this July – and it's why we joined action/2015, a global movement to make sure world leaders set ambitious targets for determining what happens to our world.

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, including the UK Government, 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.

Rewda, 30, thinks her children's health has improved since the opening of this community toilet in her neighborhood in Oromia, Ethiopia.

A commitment to transforming lives

Speaking after the negotiations, Barbara Frost, WaterAid's Chief Executive, said:

"Today UN negotiators have taken a significant step closer to achieving a globally agreed SDG dedicated to water and sanitation.

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

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

"We call on them to bring clear and implementable 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 and ensure no one is left behind."

2015 is the year we can transform millions of lives. Find out how >