In the area of sanitation, the Millennium Development Goals, which called for halving the number of people worldwide without access to basic sanitation by 2015, have not been met. As the population has grown from 6 to 7 billion, the share of those who continue to have no access to toilets has remained almost the same: around 2.5 billion people, all of them the poorest.
The situation remains severe in terms of sanitation, with a reduction of only 7% compared to 1990 and extremely low coverage rates: 1 in 3 people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia; 1 in 2 in East Asia; 1 in 10 in Jakarta and Manila. Sanitation remains the most neglected area of public policy in the so-called "developing countries".
The rate achieved only 67% coverage, well below the 75% required to meet the target. Since 1990, 1.8 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation facilities.
China and India account for just under half of global progress in sanitation. 593 million people in China and 251 million in India have gained access to improved sanitation facilities since 1990. China accounts for more than 95% of sanitation progress in East Asia (source: UN-DESA - United Nations Economic and Social Department).
The greatest progress was achieved in East and South Asia and the slowest in West Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, (United Nations Economic and Social Department).
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals programme with, among the 17 goals, a target on water and sanitation that aims to guarantee access to water and sanitation for all and to ensure sustainable management of water resources by 2030. 2015 was a historic year for water and sanitation with a fully dedicated target. It remains to be seen whether the high ambitions for water will actually translate into real progress in 2030.