Water and sanitation
The Right to Water and the Right to Sanitation are indivisible.
Sanitation in developing countries: the reality
With 2.6 billion individuals still deprived of access to any basic sanitation system, sanitation has been largely and cruelly missing from international assistance programs. Safe drinking water attracts all stakeholders’ attention, while wastewater management remains at best a boring topic and at worst a taboo in many cultures because it deals with the handling of excreta. On the whole African continent, 80% of used waters are released without any treatment.
Access to water and access to sanitation services, two indivisible rights
Any volume of water consumed is a water that is bound to be discharged into the natural environment after use and, in absence of appropriate treatment, will deteriorate the quality of the resource. Access to sanitation is, just like the Right to Water, an absolute necessity. (Re)sources always supported the Right to Water and Right to Sanitation as two strictly indivisible rights. Yet sanitation not only requires additional investments, but also more education and training of the population to hygiene and environment protection practices. A serious, complex challenge to face.
Water and sanitation recognized as same level issues by the Sustainable Development Goals
In September 2015, the United Nations adopted for the very first time a development goal dedicated to water and sanitation in order to achieve universal, equitable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2030. This goal, indeed highly ambitious, mostly demonstrates a willingness of all Member States to commit to tackle these vital issues for human development. Water and sanitation were, through the Sustainable Development Goals, finally recognized as equally important issues.
(Re)sources has always defended water and sanitation as equally important issues, arguing that:
- there is no sustainable water project without a sanitation project
- lack of sanitation represents a real danger in an urbanizing world (“sanitary bomb”)
- Sanitation terminology needs important clarification (“basic”, “total”, “adapted”, “improved”)
- Sanitation is intrinsically linked to all of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to environment, education, gender equality, child mortality and poverty.
- Measurable indicators must absolutely be developed alongside targeted programs in order to develop adapted sanitation systems and efficient management of effluents for a better protection of health and environment. Besides, access to a sanitation system is not enough.
- Educating and training populations to hygiene is key to fight waterborne disease.