Women from a camp for internally displaced people walking to fill their bottles from a water bladder. Uusgure village, Puntland, Somalia.
Photo: ©FAO/Karel Prinsloo


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Access to water and sanitation is an internationally recognised human right. Yet, many people lack even the most basic of services. If the pressure on global water resources continues at current rates, the impact on Gross Domestic Product and global grain production in the next decades will be dramatic, experts warn.

On World Water Day 2019 (22 March), more than two billion people are still without access to safe drinking water, according to the latest United Nations World Water Development Report - Leaving No One Behind, published in March 2019.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution recognising “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right” and in 2015 the human right to sanitation was explicitly recognised as a distinct right. 

These rights oblige States to work towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation for all, without discrimination, while prioritising those most in need. Five years later, Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to guarantee sustainable management of, and access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Poor access to safe drinking water in Sub-Saharan Africa 

Yet, despite significant progress over the past 15 years, this goal is unreachable for much of the world’s population.

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