In honor of World Water Week: a look at water and sanitation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article was originally posted in September, 2015.
The world achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water in 2010 – ahead of schedule. But progress towards sanitation goals lags far behind, with 2.5 billion people still lacking access to improved sanitation.
Many factors contribute to this gap:
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set to be finalized this month, are expected to include universal access to clean water and sanitation by 2030. That is an ambitious goal, and if the world is to meet it, it has some significant catching up to do on sanitation.
Momentum is building, led in particular by the Clean India campaign’s pledge that everyone in that country will have access to a toilet by 2019.
This is an enormous undertaking. Though thousands of toilets have been built as a part of the campaign, a number of early reports mention difficulties with getting people to use them. The city of Ahmedabad is even implementing a one-rupee reward for residents who use public toilets.
The funding landscape has presented challenges as well. More funding is consistently directed toward water provision, despite the fact that the needs are greater in sanitation.
The goal of reaching universal sanitation access seems daunting, especially considering that the world did not meet the less ambitious MDG of halving the proportion of the world lacking access to improved sanitation services.
Given that sanitation has much further to go but still garners less attention and funding than clean water, how can the WASH sector accelerate to achieve universal sanitation access by 2030? What low-cost models should be embraced, and by whom?
At the Skoll Foundation, we’ve seen convincing evidence of social entrepreneurs making a difference in the lives of those who are under-served by existing sanitation systems:
This series features some of these approaches, as well as the perspectives of some of the leading organizations in the sector on how to achieve universal access to sanitation by 2030.
As we hear from these leaders, we start to get a clearer picture of what viable solutions might look like:
Getting to universal coverage by 2030 will be no easy task, but by drawing on their decades of experience in the struggle for sanitation, these social entrepreneurs offer us a vision and a way forward.