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Social progress report shows countries under-perform in water and sanitation

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  • Social progress report shows countries under-perform in water and sanitation

Only four countries have met UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all, while in seven world countries, less than 50% of the population has access to at least basic drinking water, reports Utilities Middle East.

Concerning sanitation, the situation is, unsurprisingly, more grim, with 40 countries where not even half the population has basic sanitation services. These are the finding of a new report, Forward-Thinking Countries, by Washington based nonprofit Social Progress Imperative. The assessment focuses on many aspects of social and environmental performance which are relevant for countries at all levels of economic development.

Only four countries have met UN Sustainable Development Goal 6

UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 calls for universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030. This would decrease health risks caused by unclean water, including water borne infectious diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid fever. In fact, in countries where less than 70% of the people have basic drinking water (defined as water from an improved water source where collection time is not more than 30 minutes for a roundtrip including queuing), the number of deaths from infectious diseases reported in 2018 was an average of 486 per 100,000 people, compared to 88.3 deaths per 100,000 people in countries with better drinking water services. Poor water services also lead to higher infant mortality.

The assessment measures social progress in 146 countries home to 98% of the world’s population. Only four of them were found to provide access to at least basic drinking water and basic sanitation for 100% of their population, among them New Zealand and Singapore.

The report uses data from the United Nations, the Global Gender Gap Report, UNICEF and NGOs to measure changes in social progress in the past five years. To do that, it uses an index framework of components, including basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity. The assessment shows that the world as a whole is under-performing on many aspects of social progress relative to the economic resources, measured in GDP per capita, that are available. Globally, the degree of underperformance varies widely, but the greatest area of under-performance is water and sanitation.

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