SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 6

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

PROGRESS OF GOAL 6 IN 2017

Access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems are essential to human health and to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

In 2015, 6.6 billion people (over 90 per cent of the world’s population) used improved drinking water sources and 4.9 billion people (over two thirds of the world’s population) used improved sanitation facilities. In both cases, people without access live predominantly in rural areas. Achieving universal access to basic sanitation and ending the unsafe practice of open defecation will require substantial acceleration of progress in rural areas of Central and Southern Asia,
Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Effective water and sanitation management relies on the participation of a range of stakeholders, including local communities. A 2016-2017 survey found that over 80 per cent of 74 responding countries had clearly defined procedures for engaging service users/communities in water and sanitation management.

More than 2 billion people globally are living in countries with excess water stress, defined as the ratio of total freshwater withdrawn to total renewable freshwater resources above a threshold of 25 per cent. Northern Africa and Western Asia experience water stress levels above 60 per cent, which indicates the strong probability of future water scarcity.

In 2012, 65 per cent of the 130 countries that responded to a survey on integrated water resources management reported that management plans were in place at the national level.

ODA for the water sector has been rising steadily, but has remained relatively constant as a proportion of total ODA disbursements, at approximately 5 per cent since 2005. In 2015, ODA disbursements in the water sector totalled about $8.6 billion, which represents an increase of 67 per cent in real terms since 2005.

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