Target A: Safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene
Target A: By 2030: to eliminate open defecation; to achieve universal access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for households, schools and health facilities; to halve the proportion of the population without access at home to safely managed drinking water and sanitation services; and to progressively eliminate inequalities in access.
The target focuses on the progressive realization of the right to water and sanitation through increasing the number of people with access, improving existing service levels and progressively eliminating inequalities in access to services reflecting the established principles of the human right to water and sanitation, as recognized in Resolution 64/292 of the UN General Assembly in July 2010.
The aim of the target is to encourage Governments to adopt ambitious targets for improving WASH service levels in order to reduce the global burden of WASH-related diseases, to improve productivity and economic growth, and to reduce inequalities between population groups.
Achieving the target will require actions covering the following elements:
• No Open Defecation: to eliminate open defecation
• Basic Access: to achieve universal access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for households, schools and health facilities
• Safely Managed Services: to halve the proportion of population without access at home to safely managed drinking water and sanitation services
• To progressively eliminate inequalities in access
Background and process
The proposed target, its elements and indicators are aligned with the recommendations of international expert consultations facilitated by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) during 2011 and 2012 . The target builds on the existing MDG Target 7C and addresses many of its shortcomings. Specifically, the scope of the new target is expanded beyond water and sanitation to include hygiene, and beyond the household to cover non-domestic settings. It also addresses priority concerns relating to safety, equality and sustainability. The suggested new target addresses open defecation and aims at a higher level of service compared to the MDGs.
For sanitation, the first priority is to eliminate open defecation which has profound harmful health and environmental impacts for the world’s poorest communities. The next step is to strive to achieve universal access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for every household, school and health facility. There is growing consensus that universal access is within reach for the post-2015 period but that it is nevertheless an ambitious target. This is particularly true for sanitation coverage which lags well behind that of drinking water, and hygiene, which is not currently monitored. On the other hand, universal access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is an obligation of States pursuant to the human right to water and sanitation, is essential for eliminating extreme poverty and necessary to achieve related ‘zero’ targets in health, education and nutrition.
During consultations a wide range of non-domestic settings were considered for inclusion but schools and health facilities were consistently identified as the top priorities. Having achieved universal access to basic services the next step would be for countries to progressively increase the number of people whose services are safely managed. The final essential element would then be to progressively eliminate inequalities in access to services by disaggregating population groups (e.g. rich/poor; urban/rural; slums/formal settlements) and monitoring the difference in the rate of change between disadvantaged groups and the general population.
Definitions and Indicators
Detailed definitions and indicators have been developed to support effective monitoring of future WASH targets. These specify the maximum time that should be spent collecting water, the minimum quality of water provided, and the safe management of the services. The sanitation definition specifies which types of sanitation are acceptable, how many people could share a sanitation facility and arrangements for disposal of excreta. The hygiene definition specifies standards for hand washing and menstrual hygiene management facilities.
Minimum levels of service in schools and health centers are based on existing WHO standards. Based on feedback from ongoing consultations the existing list of definitions and indicators is being further refined and where necessary new ones added. The JMP working groups recommend building on and enhancing existing monitoring systems which are primarily based on household survey data and exploring how these might be combined with new emerging sources of regulatory data in the future. The formulation of the targets, indicators and definitions in this section are aligned with concerns revisited in Target C Water Governance.
Photo credits: JMP, Antony Robbins ODI.