Long Read
5 April 2019

Sanitation and Water for All: end inequalities at the 2019 Sector Ministers’ Meeting

Simavi is attending the Sector Ministers’ Meeting (SMM) this week to make sure more than 50 ministers responsible for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are aware of the Leave No One Behind: 2019 Civil Society Messages. The main objective is to increase awareness and understanding of ‘leave no one behind’, its fundamental relationship with water, sanitation and hygiene, and its implications for leadership, finance, and planning, monitoring and review.

Leave No One Behind
To ensure no one is left behind, all categories of inequalities must be taken into consideration. Honoring the commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ requires reaching everyone in situations of conflict, civil disorder, disaster, vulnerability and risk. In humanitarian context, immediate action is necessary to provide people with access to WASH, in order to fulfill their basic needs and to prevent the spread of easily transmissible and particularly, life threatening waterborne diseases.

Civil Society Organisations
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) call upon all stakeholders, notably governments, to work together to ensure “for all” is at the forefront of the implementation of SDG strategies. The goal of ‘leaving no one behind’ is relevant for all countries, developed and developing.

The Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set the bar higher than ever to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. This is particularly ambitious considering 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed water and 4.5 billion people live without a safe toilet; with 892 million still defecating in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2017).

As of today, 80% of countries report insufficient financing to meet national water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) targets, let alone higher levels of service prescribed in the SDGs (SDG6 Synthesis Report 2018). According to recent reports by UN Water and the World Bank, investments in water and sanitation will have to triple to US $114 billion per year over the next decade, a figure not including operating and maintenance costs (GLASS 2017).

The majority of people lacking access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services are the most marginalised who also suffer from corollary impacts on their health, nutrition, education, environment, quality of life and equitable (social and gender) access to opportunities. Discrimination, and stigma perpetuate inequalities in access to water, sanitation and hygiene at all levels.

Sector Ministers’ Meeting 
The SWA 2019 Sector Ministers’ Meeting (SMM) will bring together ministers responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene to share and learn from others’ experiences as they progress towards national SDG targets. It is organized by the Sanitation and Water for All global partnership, co-convened by UNICEF and the Inter-American Development Bank. It will be hosted by the Government of Costa Rica in the capital San Jose on 4-5 April 2019. Over 60 ministers are expected to attend, as are high-level representatives from civil society, UN agencies, private sector, financial institutions and research and learning institutions.


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