Learning from the MDGs: Improved sanitation, drainage in cities

MumbaiMumbaiWorld leaders have agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but arguably Goal six the water and sanitation goal will have the hardest job building on the work undertaken by the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A timely special double edition of the journal Environment and Urbanization on “Sanitation and drainage in cities” explores persistent gaps in urban sanitation provision and ways to address them.

The water MDG was widely acknowledged as the furthest from delivering against its objective, with criticism largely leveled at Target 7.C, which aimed to ‘halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation’.

Beyond the SDGs: How to deliver water and sanitation to everyone, everywhere

By Margaret Batty

A public toilet in Ciudad Pachacutec in Peru. More than 2A public toilet in Ciudad Pachacutec in Peru. More than 2.3 billion people still do not have access to a safe, private toilet. Photo by: Monica Tijero / World Bank / CC BY-NC-NDRecently, world leaders embarked upon a new journey to tackle extreme poverty and make our planet a healthier, more equal place to live with the adoption of the new U.N. Sustainable Development framework. These are exciting times, and a real chance for change.

Water and sanitation play a key role in these 17 global goals on sustainable development — not only in SDG 6, but crosscutting through health, education and gender rights. It’s hard to imagine a successful school, a successful hospital or a successful community without such basics as safe drinking water, a decent, private toilet, effective removal of human waste, and good hygiene practice, including hand and face washing with soap.

The youth holds the future of development

A young woman with an EU flag face paintA young woman with an EU flag face paint. A Eurobarometer report reveals that young people in the bloc believe that helping developing countries is important. Photo by: European Union 2014 - European Parliament / CC BY-NC-ND By Fernando Frutuoso de Melo

What Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke wrote in the 18th century still holds true for young men and women and children across the world today.

“Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.”

Their perception of the world around them and their place in it will determine the extent to which they get involved in activities aimed at change and progress, and how successful their efforts can be.

Bridging the Gap – How the SDG Fund is Paving the Way for a Post-2015 Agenda

Courtesy of Paloma DuranCourtesy of Paloma Duran/ UNDPBy Paloma Duran Edited by Kitty Stapp

The countdown has begun to September’s Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with world leaders discussing the 17 goals and 169 targets proposed by the United Nations Open Working Group ,

The post-2015 development agenda will focus primarily on strengthening opportunities to reduce poverty and marginalisation in ways that are sustainable from an economic, social and environmental standpoint.

How shall the world set the measure for all subsequent work? The SDG Fund, created by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with an initial contribution from the government of Spain, has been designed to smoothen the transition from the Millennium Development Goals phase into the future Sustainable Development Goals.

Human right to WASH ‘glaring omission’ in OWG ‘zero draft’

By Jamillah Mwanjisi

A child washes himself in Kallyanpur a slum in BangladeshA child washes himself in Kallyanpur, a slum in Bangladesh. Sanitation remains the most offtrack of all the MDGs: 2.5 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation. Photo by: Kibae Park / United Nations / CC BY-NC-NDThe U.N. Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals is holding this week its 12th and penultimate meeting in New York. Thirty representatives from U.N. member states are discussing amendments to the so-called “zero draft” document, which they will submit to the 68th U.N. General Assembly in September as a formal SDG proposal document.

But as many water and sanitation NGOs — including the 270-member End Water Poverty campaign coalition and a group of some 300 NGOs that have submitted a cosigned letter — believe, and as U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque has noted, there remains a glaring omission in the document: the human right to water and sanitation. In its current guise, the document’s preamble fails to mention the human right to water and sanitation alongside other named rights. And while prior meetings suggested human rights would be “mainstreamed” into the SDGs themselves, it remains unclear what this means when the targets and indicators do not fully reflect the standards of the human right to water and sanitation, or the principles of human rights generally.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene November - December 2017 Vol.12 No.6