Progress on drinking water and sanitation: special focus on sanitation

Progress on drinking water and sanitation: special focus on sanitation

Are countries on track to achieve the MDG sanitation target?

This report details global progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for drinking water and sanitation, and what these trends suggest for the remainder of the Water for Life Decade 2005-2015. In recognition of the 2008 International Year of Sanitation, this document  reviews the current status of sanitation and provides an assessment of progress towards the sanitation target included in the MDGs.

The report also introduces a separate assessment of global, regional and country progress using a 4-step ‘sanitation ladder’ – a new way of analysing sanitation practices.

Key points highlighted include:

  • the world is not on track to meet the MDG sanitation target
  • although the world’s population was almost equally divided between urban and rural dwellers in 2006, more than 7 out of 10 people without improved sanitation were rural inhabitants
  • only 62 per cent of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation - this means using a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact
  • 18 per cent of the world’s population practises indiscriminate or open defecation.
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