Clean Water, Sanitation & Hygiene For All by 2030 (SDG targets) - article by Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF


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Clean Water, Sanitation & Hygiene For All by 2030 (SDG targets) - article by Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All

Many are of the view that progress made under Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was modest in most developing countries. Progress made in water sector was slightly better than progress made in sanitation sector. Hygiene never had a priority, and was taken for granted.

MDGs’ time is over and, now the world has Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). People are optimistic that, due to increased awareness, high economic cost of poor sanitation, poor success achieved during MDGs’ period, encouraging progress will be made under SDGs.

Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF (he is probably based in India – please correct if this in incorrect), is his post in IPS news service ( ) has listed four “ingredients” if success is to be achieved under SDGs. These are:

1. Focus on those furthest behind. Progress during the MDG era almost as a rule left behind the poorest and most marginalized. Generally, the wealthier groups of the population are served long before the poorest. Those not reached include the rural poor; those who live in urban slums; ethnic minorities; the disabled; and many women and children. We must deliberately target those who have so far been excluded.

2. Ensure good governance and accountability. Good policies, strong institutions, robust financing, competent monitoring systems and comprehensive capacity development are among the fundamental “building blocks” that are needed to deliver results. In Addis, we will agree how to put these building blocks in place and mainstream them within country plans.

3. Address the impact of climate change: Nearly 160 million children live in severely drought-prone areas, mostly in Africa and Asia, where safe drinking water and sanitation are already in short supply. Droughts affect nutrition, but also education, since children and women are the main carriers of water when it is scarce, eating up hours needed for school and other activities. Nearly half a billion children live in flood zones, the vast majority of them in Asia. Apart from the drowning risks to children, floods compromise water supplies and damage sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of diarrhoea outbreaks. Other water-borne diseases which are predicted to increase with higher temperatures include malaria, dengue, zika, and cholera. We must prepare for the consequences of climate change, especially for those already most vulnerable.

4. Use innovation, testing and data. In 2016, we know better and cheaper ways of testing water than we did in 2000, and can ensure that those ‘improved sources’ are also safe sources. We have ways of collecting and disseminating data which can help governments pinpoint the populations left behind. And we can use new technology to bring better and cheaper toilets, and better and safer water to the millions who don’t have them now.

While these four points are interesting, the point at sr. no. 3 is important – impacts of climate change. Though the major international organizations, like the World Bank, World Health Organization, UNICEF, etc, do realize the importance, none has developed hands-on, real-world, and down-to-earth manuals on how to build resilience and adaptation in water and sanitation, in the wake of climate change, for the poor developing countries, where technical know-how is low in this field.

May be, Sanjay Wijesekera can take the lead and let UNICEF develop the guidance manual documents.
These documents would prove extremely useful for the developing countries.

Jasmin: Will it be possible for you to get the details (presentation, papers and speeches) of the Addis Ababa event for the Sanitation and Water for All Ministerial Meeting.

F H Mughal
F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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