Undermining progress towards basic sanitation services for 673 million people

Published on 28 April 2021

Responding to reports that the FCDO is due to reduce total UK aid funding for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 64 percent to around £100m. Jamie Myers, Research and Learning Manager for the Sanitation Learning Hub, based at the Institute of Development Studies, said:

“These devastating cuts to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are being made at a time when they have been the critical first line of defence in the global fight against Covid-19. WASH projects provide safe water and toilet facilities that are fundamental to achieving a wide range of positive development outcomes including health, nutrition, gender, education and economic growth.

“In an already woefully underfunded sector, the UK had been taking a leading role in WASH investments – specifically around eradicating open defecation, having provided 23 percent of total funding for basic sanitation services between 2014-2018. Ongoing WASH investment is vital to ensure the interventions to date continue to yield life-changing and life-saving benefits for the poorest and most marginalised communities.

“The scale of the cuts reported will make the already challenging Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating open defecation and ensuring adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all now near impossible to achieve.  It undermines the UK government commitment to the SDGs and its own global agenda for poverty reduction.”

Title figure source: an estimated 673 million people have no toilets at all and practise open defecation according to the UNICEF and WHO 2020 report State of the World’s Sanitation.


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