Addressing the shortfall

Achieving increased and better targeted aid in the water and sanitation sector

In 2012, the Joint Monitoring Programme between the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF reported that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for water was reached five years ahead of schedule in 2010, with over two billion people gaining access to drinking water since 1990. This achievement illustrates how well-planned and well-targeted investment can deliver effective results globally.

But major challenges remain. Global progress on the 2015 sanitation target is off track and over a third of the world’s population is still without access to basic sanitation – testament to the low priority given to this issue. There is high regional inequality in both water and sanitation, with progress stalling or even reversed in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Pacific region. People living in rural areas, urban poor people, and remote or marginalised communities often remain excluded from improvements to access, and the burden of poor water supply affects girls and women the most. Rapid population growth, rural-urban migration and the adverse impacts of climate change all add to the difficulties ahead.

This report, commissioned by WaterAid and written by Development Initiatives, aims to complement UN Water’s 2012 GLAAS report by putting resourcing of the sector, specifically the role of official development assistance, or aid, under the spotlight. In particular, it argues that donor countries should act with urgency to improve their support to those who face daily water and sanitation poverty.