Published last week, the final report of the UN High Level Panel (HLP) puts forward recommendations for post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre welcomes this timely and concise report as well as the broad consultation process upon which it was built.
In line with IRC’s business plan and like our colleagues at WaterAid and End Water Poverty, we are happy that the report includes an ambitious goal of universal access to water and sanitation by 2030. We also welcome the additional sanitation target to “recycle or treat all municipal and industrial wastewater prior to discharge”.
Nevertheless we regret the omission of specific targets for hygiene and for the reduction of inequalities as proposed by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme post-2015 working groups. These involved more than 300 experts from many types of organisations working in water, sanitation and hygiene. Additionally, while it is positive that the HLP proposes universal access by 2030 as a goal, albeit not for household sanitation, it does not propose a clear commitment to make WASH services sustainable. Failure rates of 40% are not uncommon. If sustainability of services is not addressed, universal access will remain an illusion.
The recommendations of the HLP report are still work in progress; more detailed indicators will need to be developed. This still gives the WASH sector another (last?) opportunity to push for a goal on sustainable, equitable universal access.