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.

Events and Articles

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34th UN-Water Meeting

UN-Water Members, Partners, and observers considered how to accelerate progress toward water and sanitation for all by 2030 when ambitions appear off-track.
Event 15 March 2021 - 17 March 2021

33rd UN-Water Meeting

The 33rd UN-Water Meeting will bring together representatives from UN-Water Members and Partners for a virtual discussion on challenges for international water and sanitation policy issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities to coordinate the work of their respective organizations to advance progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (clean water and sanitation). The open session of the 33rd UN-Water Meeting, which is taking place on 29 September 2020, will convene UN-Water Members, Partners with Special Status, Partners and Observers. This session will consider two agenda items: Implications of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and Advancing SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework. The SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework was launched during the July 2020 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. It seeks to support accelerated country progress in five areas related to SDG 6: financing; data and information; capacity development; innovation; and governance. On Wednesday, 30 September 2020, representatives from UN-Water Members and Partners with Special Status will convene for a closed session focused on UN-Water procedural matters. The 33rd meeting of UN-Water was originally expected to take place from 21-22 August 2020, in Stockholm, Sweden. The meeting was rescheduled as a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UN-Water plays a coordinating role within the UN, to ensure that the UN family “delivers as one” in response to water-related challenges. The overarching focus of UN-Water’s Members and Partners is to support UN Member States to sustainably manage water and sanitation.
Event 29 September 2020