Without water and toilets the Sustainable Development Goals will fail – so mainstream WASH provision, says WaterAid
July 19, 2018—On Thursday a ministerial declaration reaffirming commitment to the sustainable development goals was passed at the United Nations High Level Political Forum in New York.
During the Forum, it has become even clearer that at current rates of progress the world will not meet Sustainable Development Goal 6 of ensuring that everyone has safe water to drink and a toilet by 2030.
Yet progress on SDG 6 is not due to be reviewed again for at least another three to four years, leaving dangerously little time to meet the promise.
WaterAid is calling on ministers, country delegates and UN officials to recognize the fundamental importance of water, sanitation and hygiene – known collectively as WASH – to almost every area of development and insist from now on that reviewing progress on other SDG targets includes analysis of the impact of WASH.
So for example, when considering progress towards providing quality education under SDG 4, only schools with reliable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities should be considered as providing an inclusive and equitable quality education, given the devastating impact that the lack of such facilities can have on a child’s learning.
Reviews of SDG 3, which focuses on the ability to live a healthy life, should only count those services if provided by a healthcare facility with reliable WASH facilities.
Progress towards gender equality and ending discrimination under SDG 5 should consider the disproportionate impact that the lack of WASH has on women and girls as a form of discrimination.
Tim Wainwright, WaterAid UK Chief Executive, who attended the HLPF this week said:
Having safe and reliable water, sanitation and hygiene is absolutely crucial to nearly all the SDGs and plays an important role in all of them. But for too long providing clean water, decent toilets and hygiene has been viewed almost as a stand-alone issue.
It is time that we integrate WASH into the development agenda, meaning that every development decision has to take into account the provision of water and sanitation and how its presence or lack of, impacts on the given situation.
Donors, national governments and civil society can learn a lot from the integrated investments made through HIV and AIDS programs: benefiting from enormous political will and comparatively enormous resourcing. The sector has led in identifying barriers to preventing the spread of the disease that go beyond the immediate links. Goal 6 requires similarly high political will and financing in order to be able to benefit the entire SDG agenda.
If someone does not have reliable access to clean water, a decent toilet and good hygiene they are likely to be poorer, in worse health, with lower educational attainment and with poorer future prospects. We have known the consequences of drinking dirty water and poor sanitation for well over 150 years yet making sure that every child has clean water to drink whether they are at home, school or in hospital lags behind in political priorities.
Sarina Prabasi, Chief Executive Officer, WaterAid America, said:
We are extremely disappointed with the U.S. government’s “no” vote on the declaration. Despite ongoing leadership on Goal 6, including through Congressional commitment to the Water for the World Act of 2014, the U.S. Government has let down the world’s poorest in voting against the declaration. We urge the White House to live up to the U.S. government's historic leadership role in helping to solve the world’s biggest challenges. Congress should also step in to express its disappointment and reaffirm its own commitment to Goal 6 by allocating $435 million to water, sanitation and hygiene this year.
WaterAid has used United Nations data to predict when each country will complete the universal access of basic provision and this data shows that significant number of people in 80 countries will still be drinking hazardous water in 2030 and in 107 countries will still not have a decent toilet to use. It is not possible to calculate when many countries will reach the more exacting standard set by SDG6. Using United Nations JMP data on progress made on providing clean water and a decent toilet between 2000 and 2015 and the numbers of people still waiting to receive these services as listed on WASHWatch.org, WaterAid has calculated the projected completion date for each country that currently has less than 95% access.
- Using United Nations JMP data on progress made on providing clean water and a decent toilet between 2000 and 2015 and the numbers of people still waiting to receive these services as listed on WASHWatch.org, WaterAid has calculated the projected completion date for each country that currently has less than 95% access.
- The completion dates are based on current access figures to water and sanitation and progress made in increasing access between 2000 and 2015.
- For further information on the Water Procession please see media advisory HERE
WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation.The international not-for-profit organization works in 34 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million people with decent toilets.For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @wateraid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid
- 785 million people in the world -one in nine- do not have clean water close to home. 1
- 2 billion people in the world -almost one in three- do not have a decent toilet of their own.2
- Around 310,000 children under five die every day from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's over 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes. 3
- Every $1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of $4 of increased productivity.4
- Just $24 can provide one person with clean water.5
- To find out if countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, see the online database, www.WASHwatch.org
1WHO/UNICEF (2019) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2017. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation.
2WHO/UNICEF (2019) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2017. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation.
4 World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage