Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Series: Goal 6

Goal 6Goal Six: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

This SDG is also a direct extension of a Millennium Development Goal (MDG), but it was previously just related to a single target of Goal 7 calling for a halving of the proportion of people without access to proper water and sanitation. Even though it wasn’t given its own goal in the MDGs, this goal is still extremely important in its focus on water, sanitation, and hygiene. According to these rankings published by Afridev.info; “Lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene costs Sub-saharan African countries more in lost GDP than the entire continent gets in development aid.” Access to improved drinking water across the continent is uneven. The rankings have Somalia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger as the top five African countries with the least sustainable access to improved drinking water.  However, access to clean drinking water in other areas such as Namibia was as high as 99% in 2014; Uganda and Malawi are also doing well, with 75% and 85% access to improved water, respectively.

In terms of hygiene, improved sanitation has also been variable, with improved sanitation ranging from 0.2% in Chad to 48% in Burundi and 100% in the Gambia. According to findings from a study conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, rural households in districts with the lowest levels of access within a country were 1.5 to eight times less likely to use improved drinking water, two to 18 times less likely to use improved sanitation and two to 80 times more likely to defecate in the open, compared to rural households in districts with the best coverage. The authors of the study suggest that strategies to target these areas of lowest coverage would be essential to improving sources of drinking water and sanitation, and could go a long way in the achievement of this sustainable development goal.

Proposed Targets:

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 substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse 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 in improving water and sanitation management

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