The report provides an overview of the links between water, health, and development, and offers actionable recommendations for governments and partners.
It also highlights examples of how countries have dealt with the challenges of achieving universal access to safe drinking water.
While more than 2 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water in the past two decades, a quarter of the world’s population is being left behind. This is according to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank that urges governments to invest strategically in building safe drinking water systems.
The report titled, ‘State of the World’s Drinking Water: An Urgent Call to Action to Accelerate Progress on Ensuring Safe Drinking Water for All,’ warns that continued progress on SDG target 6.1 (By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all) is threatened by the accelerating “impacts and uncertainty of climate change, competing agricultural and ecological water needs, competing financial priorities and the challenges of existing and emerging threats to water quality.”
The publication provides an overview of the links between water, health, and development, and offers actionable recommendations for governments and partners. It also highlights examples of how countries have dealt with the challenges of achieving universal access to safe drinking water.
Accessible and reliable safe drinking water is fundamental to ensuring children are healthy, educated, and thriving.
— Aidan Cronin, UNICEF
Overarching recommendations spanning the areas of governance, financing, capacity development, data and information, and innovation – the five accelerators of SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework – include:
- Strengthening existing institutions by filling gaps, facilitating coordination, establishing a regulatory environment supported by legislation and standards for service quality, and ensuring enforcement;
- Increasing funding from all sources dramatically, with water service providers improving efficiency and performance, and governments providing a stable and transparent administrative, regulatory, and policy environment;
- Building capacity within the water sector by developing a capable and motivated workforce through a range of capacity development approaches based on innovation and collaboration;
- Ensuring relevant data and information are available to better understand inequalities in drinking water services and make evidence-based decisions; and
- Encouraging innovation and experimentation through supportive government policy and regulation, accompanied by rigorous monitoring and evaluation.
“Providing greater access to safe drinking water has saved many lives, most of them children. … We have to accelerate our efforts to ensure every person has reliable access to safe drinking water something that is a human right, not a luxury,” said Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, WHO.
The report was launched on 25 October 2022, in the context of the Preparatory Meeting for the UN 2023 Water Conference. [Publication: State of the World’s Drinking Water: An Urgent Call to Action to Accelerate Progress on Ensuring Safe Drinking Water for All] [Publication Landing Page] [WHO/UNICEF/World Bank Press Release] [UN News Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub summary of SDG 6 Special Event launching the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework at HLPF 2020]