Source: OECD CRS
Over the next 15 years, countries aim to deliver universal access to water and sanitation
This is outlined in goal 6 of the sustainable development goals (SDGs): “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”. The SDGs are a new, universal set targets and indicators that UN member states are expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. They replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were agreed by governments in 2000 and expire at the end of 2015.
Significant improvement in water and sanitation access has been recorded over the past 25 years
The MDG target of halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water was met. But 748 million people (10% of the global population) remain without access to improved water sources. Progress to improve sanitation was not sufficient to meet the MDG sanitation target: 75% of the global population with access to improved sanitation facilities. Globally, 2.5 billion people (40% of the population) remain without access to sanitation facilities.
Aid has played an important role in financing improved access to water and sanitation
Global volumes of aid to water and sanitation increased from US$2.6 billion in 2003 to US$6.6 billion in 2013. Aid flows to water and sanitation reached a 10-year high in 2013, recording a steady growth from 2007. Between 2003 and 2013, aid to water and sanitation grew by 158%, outpacing the growth of overall aid to all sectors, which recorded 87% growth.
But more recent years show a reverse in this tendency
Between 2011 and 2013 aid to water and sanitation grew by only 2.5%, falling behind the pace of overall aid, which grew by 10.7%. In line with these trends, the share of aid going to water and sanitation decreased between 2012 and 2013. In 2013, the share of aid to the sector dropped to only 3.9% of overall aid, falling below 4% for the first time since 2009.
Water and sanitation financing should be improved following unmet MDG targets
A majority (80%) of developing countries had insufficient current finance to meet MDG targets for drinking water and sanitation, according to the UN Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2014 survey of 94 developing countries. To meet the SDG target of universal access to water and sanitation, countries that lack finance to meet MDG targets will experience an even greater finance gap. If water and sanitation priorities in global aid spending continue to decline, this could compromise the achievement of universal access by 2030.
For more information see the WaterAid report 2015 Essential element: why international aid for water, sanitation and hygiene is still a critical source of finance for many countries, which is based on analysis by DI.
Cover photo: Catarina and her granddaughters collect unsafe water, Cuvir Rainha, Niassa, Mozambique. Credit: WaterAid/ Panos/ Adam Patterson.