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Global Goals

Universal access to water is key to ending extreme poverty by 2030.
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The new Global Goals include a dedicated goal for water and sanitation to tackle the global water crisis head on.

The issue explained

In 2000, the United Nations agreed a set of global goals to help eradicate poverty, improve global health and accelerate development. Known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) they were targeted to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs included targets to halve the proportion of the population living without access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation. The water access target was met in 2010. However, the sanitation target is one of the most off-track of all the MDGs.

Despite the fact that many targets will not be met before the deadline, the MDGs have been critical to helping advocates and citizens hold their governments accountable for their commitment to the MDGs, and for helping governments prioritize their services.

Beyond 2015

At the UN General Assembly in September 2015, member states decided on a set of new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) or 'Global Goals' for the world to work towards to end extreme poverty by 2030.

The new Global Goals include a dedicated goal for water and sanitation to tackle the global water crisis head on.

We believe it is possible to end extreme poverty by 2030 and ensure sustainable development only by achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

Our approach

WaterAid, alongside other organizations and civil society groups, had been calling for a globally agreed goal dedicated to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) since 2012. The inclusion of Goal 6, dedicated to sustainable management of water and sanitation, with six targets including universal access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene – and a clear reference to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation – is a major milestone in ending WASH poverty and transforming lives.

Now the hard work begins to implement the Global Goals and ensure the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda, including universal access to water and sanitation, are made a reality. To find out more about the Global Goals and the role of WASH as an essential component of an integrated approach to tackling poverty, hunger, health and inequality, explore our Global Goals toolkit.