Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - Water and sanitation proposed as SDGs


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  • tmsinnovation
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  • I manage the Decentralized Wastewater Management for Adaptation to Climate Change in Jordan (ACC Project) and previously coordinated the Climate-friendly sanitation services in peri-urban areas of Lusaka project in Zambia. My background is in Management, Economics and Information Systems.
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Re: Zero Draft of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for post-2015 agenda

Dear all

the zero draft for the SDG for the post 2015 Agenda are out and online here:

The 6th of 17 goals is of interest to the SuSanA community:

List of Proposed Sustainable Development Goals to be attained by 2030
6. Secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world

Details of the goal from the zero draft:

Proposed goal6. Secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world

6.1 by 2030, provide universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene for all

6.2 by 2030 provide universal access to safe and affordable sanitation and hygiene including at home, schools, health centers and refugee camps, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls

6.3 by 2030, improve water quality by significantly reducing pollution, eliminating dumping of toxic materials, and improving wastewater management by x%, recycling and reuse by y%

6.4 by 2030, improve water-use efficiency by x% across all sectors

6.5 implement integrated water resources management, including appropriate trans-boundary co-operation

6.6 ensure sustainable extraction and supply of fresh water, and by 2020 protect and restore ecosystems and aquifers that provide water-related services

6.7 by 2030 decrease by x% mortality, and decrease by y% economic losses caused by natural and human-induced water-related disasters

6.8 provide adequate facilities and infrastructure, both built and natural, for safe drinking water and sanitation systems, for productive uses of water resources and for mitigating the impacts of water-related disasters

I look forward to when the X% and Y% are included.

Trevor Surridge
Decentralized Wastewater Management for Adaptation to Climate Change in Jordan (ACC Project)
Project Manager

Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Shmeisani,
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  • scherten
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Dear colleagues,

Following our earlier discussion on this subject, I would like to inform you that last Saturday, the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals adopted a proposal for Sustainable Development Goals to be forwarded to the 69th session of the General Assembly for its consideration. The proposal contains 17 sustainable development goals, each with its set of targets and means on implementation. It is the fruit of nearly 18 months of discussion on the post-2015 agenda.

I think we can be very pleased that Water and Sanitation figure very prominently in the proposal.

First of all, water and sanitation is the subject of a dedicated SDG, goal 6 aiming to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. Under this goal, 6 targets foster measurable and time-bound actions to: achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene; improve water quality and increase waste water treatment; enhance water efficiency and sustainability of water withdrawals; implement integrated water resources management, including through transboundary cooperation; and protect and restore water related ecosystems. Means of implementation include international cooperation and capacity-building and participation of local communities.

Moreover, water and sanitation are also strongly mainstreamed in the other goals of the agenda: explicitly referred under the goals on health, cities and human settlements, sustainable consumption and production and terrestrial ecosystems, and more implicitly in many others, including the goals on poverty, gender equality and climate change.

At this stage, it is still unclear how much this report will remain unchanged during next year of negotiations: whether it will be reopened or adopted by the General Assembly as it is at the Summit in September 2015. Therefore, the advocacy efforts for water and sanitation must carry on next year. Moreover, next year will be also important for reflections on the implementation of the agenda, in particular the water and sanitation SDG, including on its monitoring, on the partnerships needed to support it, etc.

Whatever the course of the future negotiations on the whole agenda will be next year, it is important to recognize that the consensus on water and sanitation is very broad and the support to the goal on water and sanitation is strong and consistent throughout the regions and the groups of countries.

Therefore this report can be seen as a good summary of the global water agenda and will guide and influence the work of all of us both at the national and international levels.

With best regards
Roland Schertenleib

Independent consultant, formerly head of Eawag-Sandec (Dübendorf, Switzerland
One of the founding fathers of SuSanA
Roland Schertenleib
former Director of Eawag/Sandec

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  • dietvorst
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Noticable amendments in the final text of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)6 are:
  • water and sanitation/hygiene are now separate subgoals

  • the inclusion of the words "equitable" and "those in vulnerable situations"

  • a specific reference to ending open defecation

  • a quantifiable subgoal of "halving the proportion of untreated wastewater" by 2030, and

  • acknowledgement of the role of local communities in water and sanitation management.

If you are cynical you might conclude that the publicity surrounding the rape and murder of the two girls in India (see the discussion in the SuSanA Forum) has influenced the inclusion of ending open defecation in SDG subgoal 6.2, while the root of the problem remains unaddressed. Women's groups regret that the proposed SDGs "fall short of women’s aspirations for a strong set of transformative goals needed to achieve gender equality, women’s human rights, sustainable development in harmony with nature, and an end to inequalities". If you are not (or less) cynical, you might say that it is a result of the good work of UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson who launched the End Open Defecation campaign.

So what got left out? First, specific references to the human right to water and sanitation and to extra-household WASH (schools, health centers and refugee camps). One could argue that these issues are already covered by terms like "universal access", "equitable" and "for all" including "women and girls and those in vulnerable situations".

Secondly, as IRC's Catarina Fonseca mentions in her blog , missing in an emphasis on the actual provision of water and sanitation services rather than just infrastructure. She also points to the fact that there is still of lot of work needed to make all the targets smart and measurable.

Will the water SDG end up in the final list next year? Even though there is a strong UN and civil society lobby - led by the likes of UN-Water and End Water Poverty, respectively - we can't be complacent. In her blog , Catarina lists what sector organisations need to do keep the pressure on.

Here is the full text of Proposed Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

6.1 by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

6.2 by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations

6.3 by 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and increasing recycling and safe reuse by x% globally

6.4 by 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity, and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

6.5 by 2030 implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate

6.6 by 2020 protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

6.a by 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water and sanitation related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

6.b support and strengthen the participation of local communities for improving water and sanitation management
Cor Dietvorst
Information Manager
Programme Officer | IRC
+31 70 304 4014 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |
Skype cor.dietvorst | Twitter @dietvorst
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