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2017 Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Barometer - Inventory of access to a vital resource #03 March 2017

Situation Report
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In 2010, The United Nations General Assembly acknowledged access to quality water and sanitation as a human right – a decision that was considered historical by many observers after years of debate. During the 2015 UN General Assembly, countries were offered the possibility to adopt a set of objectives meant to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and grant prosperity for all by 2030. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were defined and, for each of them, specific targets to be reached within the next 15 years were established. 195 countries ratified the vote to “change the World!”

Then what? That is indeed the question and the raison d’être of this Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer published every year by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL. By opening our pages to different experts and observers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, we are on watch.

Among the 17 SDGs, Water, Goal 6 was at long last taken into account – something we have campaigned for with national and international institutions for more than 10 years. The definition of the goal is precise – “Ensure access to water and sanitation for all and sustainable management of water resources.”

But how should this be implemented by the 2030 “deadline” to make sure this intention will become a reality? That efforts are made by the different countries is undeniable. But without strong political commitment or massive financing, this objective will remain, once again, wishful thinking as this issue’s interview of Jean Launay, the French Water Partnership President, by Alain Boinet, founder of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, reminds us.

What are the constraints for States which do not tackle the issue of access to water, which, when it is insalubrious, continues to kill 2.6 million people each year around the world?

None. Those SDGs have the merit to establish a reference on the basis of which we can call on States and question them on their level of commitment. In France, efforts may be done but they are sometimes hindered by our institutions. While the lower house of the French Parliament, the Assemblée Nationale voted in favour of the law on the effective implementation of the Human Right to drinking water and sanitation, on February 22, the French Senate made its translation to practical terms difficult. This is what “Coalition Eau” the water coalition of which SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is a member, reminds us of in this issue.

It is first a strong political commitment that will allow the concrete implementation of goal 6. We all know that. The intentions and messages of States prevail. Means are also crucial to give concrete expression to these intentions. We count on our partners and contributors such as the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency, AFD) or the British Department For International Development (DFID), one of the largest international donors, to maintain and reinforce their efforts.

This constant financial and political commitment of States until 2030 is the necessary condition for us, aid workers, to be able to act every day by the side of the weakest, victims of armed conflicts, epidemics, or natural disasters in Haiti, Asia, the Sahel or in the Horn of Africa to re-establish water in its rightful place – at the heart of everything!