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Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment released

Jul 4, 2015 13:00 IST

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on 30 June 2015 released the report titled Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment. The report has been prepared by WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP).

The report presents the update and assessment of the Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since 1990. The Goal 7 targeted to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

As per the report, 147 countries have met the MDG drinking water target, 77 countries have met both the drinking water and the sanitation target and 95 countries have met the MDG sanitation target.

Although, India has met the MDG target in drinking water but in sanitation it has only made a moderate progress.

Key messages of the report: Drinking Water
• The global MDG target for drinking water was met in 2010, well ahead of the MDG deadline of 2015 of providing access to drinking water to 88 percent of the population.
• With some 2.6 billion people having gained access since 1990, 91 percent of the global population now has improved drinking water – and the number is still growing.
• Five developing regions met the drinking water target, but the Caucasus and Central Asia, Northern Africa, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa did not
• 96 percent of the global urban population uses improved drinking water sources, compared with 84 per cent of the rural population
• Eight out of ten people still without improved drinking water sources live in rural areas
• The least developed countries did not meet the target, but 42 percent of the current population has gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990
• In 2015, 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources
• The global MDG target for sanitation has been missed by almost 700 million people


Key messages of the report: Sanitation

• 68 percent of the global population now uses an improved sanitation facility as against the MDG target of providing access to sanitation to 77 percent of the population by 2015.
• In 2015, one in every three, or 2.4 billion people on the planet, is still without sanitation facilities, including 946 million people who defecate in the open
• The lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water
• The only developing regions to meet the sanitation target were the Caucasus and Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and Western Asian
• 2.1 billion people have gained access to an improved sanitation facility since 1990
• 82 per cent of the global urban population, and 51 per cent of the rural population, uses improved sanitation facilities
• Seven out of ten people without improved sanitation facilities, and nine out of ten people still practising open defecation, live in rural areas
• The least developed countries did not meet the sanitation target, and only 27 per cent of their current population has gained access to improved sanitation since 1990
• In the Southern Asia region, where the number of open defecators is highest, has also made significant improvements. Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan have all achieved reductions of more than 30 percentage points since 1990.

Besides, the report also says that
• Access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene is critical in the prevention and care of 16 of the 17 'Neglected Tropical Diseases' (NTDs), including trachoma, soil-transmitted helminths (intestinal worms) and schistosomiasis. NTDs affect more than 1.5 billion people in 149 countries, causing blindness, disfigurement, permanent disability and death.
• The practice of open defecation is linked to a higher risk of stunting – or chronic malnutrition – which affects 161 million children worldwide, leaving them with irreversible physical and cognitive damage
• In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 427 million people have gained access – an average of 47000 people per day every day for 25 years.

The WHO and UNICEF said that the plans for the proposed new sustainable development goals (SDGs) to be set by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 include a target to eliminate open defecation by 2030.

Report in context of India
• In context of India, the report says that the country has made moderate progress in reducing open defecation rates among its population and has succeeded in providing access to improved drinking water to more people in urban and rural areas.
• India is among the 16 countries that have reduced open defecation rates by at least 25 percentage points.
• The 31 per cent reduction in open defecation in India alone represents 394 million people, and significantly influences regional and global estimates.
• Progress among the poorest has been slower, and in India there has been very little change over the last 20 years.
• In India, in terms of providing access to sanitation, there exists a large gap between the richest and poorest quintiles, highlighting the inequality in access to sanitation.
• Among the South Asia region, India has witnessed a very little progress in eliminating open defecation among the poorest over the last 20 years. In 1995 some 42 percent were defecating in the open which in 2015 stands at 72 percent.

What has changed in terms of Goal 7 of MDG between 1990 and 2015: A Comparison

1990

2015

Global population was 5.3 billion

Global population is 7.3 billion

57 percent of the global population was rural

54 percent of the global population was rural

76 percent of the population used improved drinking water sources

91 percent of the population used improved drinking water sources

1.3 billion people lacked improved drinking water sources

663 billion people lacked improved drinking water sources

346 million people used surface water

159 million people used surface water

54 percent of the population used improved sanitation facilities

68 percent of the population used improved sanitation facilities

Nearly half the global population lacked improved sanitation

1 in 3 people lack improved sanitation

1 in 4 people worldwide practiced open defecation (1.3 billion)

1 in 8 people worldwide practice open defecation (946 million)

In 87 countries, more than 90 percent of the population used improved drinking water sources

In 139 countries, more than 90 percent of the population use improved drinking water sources

In 23 countries, less than 50 percent of the population used improved drinking water sources

In 3 countries, less than 50 percent of the population use improved drinking water sources

In 61 countries, more than 90 percent of the population used improved sanitation facilities

In 97 countries, more than 90 percent of the population use improved sanitation facilities

In 54 countries, less than 50 percent of the population used improved sanitation facilities

In 47 countries, less than 50 percent of the population use improved sanitation facilities


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