A report launched by the UN Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization proposes the next steps for global and national monitoring of the affordability of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.
The publication was produced as a collaboration of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water, and an Expert Group on WASH Affordability.
Global level monitoring recommendations include strengthening data sets and analyses of income and expenditure surveys, and reaching a broad consensus on setting a threshold/range for affordable WASH services.
A report launched by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) proposes the next steps for global and national monitoring of the affordability of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).
The publication titled, ‘The Measurement and Monitoring of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Affordability: A missing element of monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets 6.1 and 6.2,’ was produced as a collaboration of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS), and an Expert Group on WASH Affordability.
Only by restoring the health of rivers and aquifers can we achieve effective and universal access to safe water.
SDG target 6.1 calls for achieving “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all” by 2030, while SDG target 6.2 commits governments to providing “access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all” and ending open defecation by 2030, with “special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.”
The authors recall that when the SDGs and their targets were agreed in 2015, no methodology existed for measuring their affordability element. Even now, “little has been done” to track the affordability of WASH at a global scale. Moreover, “there are few examples of affordability analyses in low- and middle-income countries leading to concrete policy recommendations.”
With this report, the authors note, WASH is the first sector for which affordability has been systematically analyzed.
The report concludes with recommendations for monitoring of affordability at global and at national levels. On global level monitoring, the authors call to:
- Strengthen data sets and data analyses of income and expenditure surveys;
- Build and strengthen global databases of WASH tariffs and costs;
- Strengthen the use of the UN-Water GLAAS survey to collect and analyze policy indicators relevant for affordability assessment; and
- Reach broad consensus on setting a threshold/range for affordable WASH services.
For national-level monitoring, the report recommends conducting more in-depth country case studies to explore the use of existing data sets to better understand WASH affordability, and to implement enhanced national policies. The publication includes case studies from Cambodia, Ghana, Mexico, Pakistan, Uganda, and Zambia that draw on existing data sets to explore challenges with affordability.
Pedro Arrojo Agudo, Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, writes in the foreword to the report that the vast majority of the world’s 2.2 billion people without access to safe drinking water are “not thirsty people without water in their living environments, but impoverished people living next to rivers or on polluted aquifers.” The global water crisis is rooted in two “major structural flaws”: unequal and unsupportive socio-economic systems; and the unsustainability in aquatic ecosystems, which has made water a vector of disease. He explains that only by restoring the health of rivers and aquifers can we achieve effective and universal access to safe water.
The SDG target on drinking water is measured by indicator 6.1.1: Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water service. The SDG target on sanitation and hygiene is measured by indicator 6.2.1a ( Proportion of population using safely managed sanitation service ) and indicator 6.2.1b (Proportion of population using a hand-washing facility with soap and water). [Publication: The Measurement and Monitoring of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Affordability] [WHO Press Release] [UN-Water news] [Status of indicator 6.1.1] [Status of indicator 6.2.1a] [Status of indicator 6.2.1b]