The UN announced that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to cut the number of people who do not have access to safe drinking water by half, has been met five years before the 2015 deadline. In contrast, the sanitation MDG target will not be met.
The report issued by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) says that between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources such as piped supplies and protected wells.
Does this really show an early success for the MDG? How reliable is the UN report on safe drinking water?
Joining presenter Adrian Finighan on Inside Story are guests: Patrick Moriarty, in charge of the International Programme for the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, a Netherlands-based NGO; Joakim Harlin, a senior water resources advisor at the UNDP; and Muhammad Jahangir, the founder of Better Tomorrow, an NGO focusing on water sanitation.
A discussion workshop entitled “Monitoring the Sanitation Status of African Cities”, supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), was held at the University of Surrey (UK) on 29th June 2010, to discuss the accuracy of current estimates of sanitation status in African cities, and how monitoring procedures might be improved. Participants also discussed related issues of knowledge sharing within and between African cities.
Key conclusions were as follows:
1) Research is needed to identify improved metrics of urban sanitation quality, notably metrics that take into account the effectiveness of downstream systems (sewerage or faecal sludge management systems) for reducing disease burden.
2) The JMP might wish to consider the possibility of modifying its procedures for assessment of urban sanitation status, with the aim of adopting indicator sets that more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the whole sanitation chain.
3) Knowledge-sharing initiatives like SWITCH Accra, in which a hub is created to collate and disseminate city-level watsan information resources, are very promising, and should be encouraged.
4) Drawing on the experience of the Indian Cities Sanitation Rating Scheme recently introduced by the Government of India, an analogous African Cities Sanitation Rating Scheme or schemes may be of value for stimulating urban sanitation progress.
For further information:
See also: Sanitation Status of African Cities
This is a fully editable open-access reference resource on the sanitation status of African cities. It currently covers all 40 agglomerations in sub-Saharan Africa with a population of 1 million or more. Individuals and organizations with expert knowledge of specific cities are invited to edit and expand this resource as appropriate, so that it can evolve into a valuable knowledge-sharing resource. [This material is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, so can be freely distributed and re-used in any way.]