Water & Sanitation
While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people—mostly in rural areas—still lack access these basic services, which were recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation. Unsafe hygiene practices are widespread, compounding the effects on people’s health. The impact on child mortality rates is devastating, with more than 297,000 children under five who die annually from diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water.
By managing our water sustainably, we are also able to better manage food production and energy, and contribute to decent work and economic growth. Moreover, we can preserve our water ecosystems, their biodiversity, and take action on climate change. Water and sanitation are essential to the future of sustainable development.