Unjust and unequal: new statistics on WASH access levels

JMP photo
11 Jul 2019

Photo: UNICEF/ WHO

In 2010, we celebrated the declaration of access to water and sanitation as a human right at the United Nations General Assembly. We again celebrated our collective efforts in getting the Sustainable to Development Goals (SDG) to include Goal Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. However, these global commitments are not always being translated – by governments – into access to safe water supply and sanitation services by the most marginalised and discriminated against.  

When looking at headline global statistics, it looks like we are making progress. According to the recent Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, between the year 2000 to 2017, there has been increase from 61% to 71% of people using safely managed water services.  While this depicts progress, a closer look at the JMP data reveals that there is a growing injustice with access driven by personal wealth. People who are the poorest and live in rural areas have the worst access to water and sanitation.   

These injustices and inequalities in access levels are a major feature of least developed and middle-income countries. In some of the countries, you have a whopping unjust access gap of 50% between the richest and poorest.  

At End Water Poverty, we are keen in supporting our members in digesting the information from the JMP report and also support them in transforming this data into advocacy materials. Given that the UN High Level Political Forum – which will be taking stock of progress on the SDGs – is in session, we have developed country inequality profile for Ghana and Sierra Leone.  

These profiles are adaptable for use in blogs, through digital channels and social media platforms, briefs and press statements. When using these materials on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, make sure you tag the following stakeholders: 

  • Your minister for water and sanitation, 
  • Your UN permanent representative, 
  • Your president,  
  • The United Nations (and add ‘#HLPF2019’), 
  • Relevant media outlets in the country.  

As always, we are keen to hear from you. Let us know how you are using these materials.