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UN Reveals Major Gaps in Water and Sanitation


Weak National Capacity to Execute WASH Plans – Despite strong political support for universal access to water and sanitation, fewer than one-third of the countries surveyed for this report have national WASH plans that are being fully implemented, funded and regularly reviewed.

Critical Gaps in Monitoring – Reliable data is vital to identify gaps in access to WASH services and inform policy decisions. Though many countries have WASH monitoring frameworks in place, a majority reported inconsistent or fragmented gathering of data and weak capacity for analysis.

Neglect for WASH in Schools, Health Facilities – Water and sanitation services in schools can ensure that children, especially girls, stay in school and learn lifelong hygiene habits. In health clinics, WASH services ensure the privacy and safety of patients, particularly expectant mothers during delivery, and are essential to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks. Yet, GLAAS data indicates that less than 30% of surveyed countries have national WASH plans for institutional settings that were being fully implemented, funded and regularly reviewed.

Investments Pay Off 

Investments in water and sanitation yield substantial benefits for human health and development. According to WHO estimates, for every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is a US $ 4.3 return in the form of reduced healthcare costs for individuals and society. Millions of children can be saved from premature death and illness related to malnutrition and water-borne diseases. Adults can live longer and healthier lives.

The benefits cut across many sectors. Economic and environmental gains include, for example, greater productivity in the workplace and reduced pollution of water and land resources. Gains in quality of life include improved school attendance, greater privacy and safety – especially for women, children and the elderly – and a greater sense of dignity for all.


Check the following link to read/download the Full Report:


Source: WHO.



An “improved” drinking water source is defined as a facility or delivery point that protects water from external contamination – particularly faecal contamination. This includes piped water into a dwelling, plot, or yard; public tap or standpipe; tube-well or borehole; protected spring; and rainwater collection. An “improved” sanitation facility is one that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact.

The 23 external support agencies include donor governments and other sources of funding/support (e.g., non-governmental organizations and foundations).

On 20 November 2014, the United Nations marked the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention recognizes “the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health” and “the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development”.