Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Targets: The Urban and Rural Challenge of the Decade


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Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Targets: The Urban and Rural Challenge of the Decade

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In September 2000, the 189 UN Member States adopted eight goals for promoting human development, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals are based on the belief that a country will be able to sustain social and economic development only if resources are invested in the development of its citizens. The seventh goal is to sustain the human environment, and one of its targets is the subject of this report: "Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation".

The present JMP Report 2006, was prepared by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme. It is intended as a "reality check" for individual countries and the international community on how far we have come, and where we need to focus next, to achieve the 2015 goals.

The report provides coverage data for water and sanitation for 1990 and 2004 at national, regional and global levels, as well as an analysis of trends towards 2015. Although published in 2006, the report covers progress towards the seventh MDG up to the year 2004. This is the last year for which comprehensive data are available.

Safe drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene are fundamental to health, survival, growth and development. However, these basic necessities are still a luxury for many of the world’s poor people. Over 1.1 billion of our fellow citizens do not use drinking water from improved sources, while 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Safe drinking water and basic sanitation are so obviously essential to health that they risk being taken for granted. Efforts to prevent death from diarrhoea or to reduce the burden of such diseases as ascaris, dracunculiasis, hookworm, schistosomiasis and trachoma are doomed to failure unless people have access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Lack of basic sanitation indirectly inhibits the learning abilities of millions of school-aged children who are infested with intestinal worms transmitted through inadequate sanitation facilities and poor hygiene.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have set us on a common course to push back poverty, inequality, hunger and illness. The world has pledged to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Entering the International Decade for Action, Water for Life, 2005–2015, this report looks at the challenge of meeting the MDG target for drinking water and sanitation. Achieving the MDG drinking water and sanitation target poses two major challenges: a rapid pace of urbanization, which requires a major effort even to keep up the current coverage levels; a huge backlog of rural people unserved with basic sanitation and safe drinking water, which calls for an intensive mobilization of resources to reduce the vast coverage gap between urban and rural populations.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the area of greatest concern. It is a region of the world where, over the period 1990–2004, the number of people without access to drinking water increased by 23% and the number of people without sanitation increased by over 30%. More intensive, effective and concerted action by all stakeholders is needed if the MDG drinking water and sanitation target is to be met in this region.

We call on all countries to set realistic targets, develop achievable action plans, and allocate the financial and human resources needed to bring safe drinking water and basic sanitation to their populations, in a sustainable manner, while protecting the basic needs of poor and vulnerable people. This effort must be made, not only for humanitarian reasons, but also because it is highly cost-effective, reduces health costs enormously, and is directly related to health, equity and economic growth, which are prerequisites for poverty alleviation.



See also



Progress in Drinking Water and Sanitation: A special focus on Sanitation

Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Target: A Mid-Term Assessment of Progress

Water For Life:Making It Happen

Global Water Supply and Sanitation 2000 Report

UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Drinking Water and Sanitation

External Resources

WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme Website

The latest JMP country profiles


 JMP 06.pdf

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