Current Status + Progress
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Inadequate drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) remains a leading cause of child deaths. It is also responsible for a major share of the global burden of childhood diseases and malnutrition – which in turn impact a child’s overall development, learning opportunities, and ultimately his prospects of a fair chance in life. Access to water, and sanitation and hygiene is thus fundamental to sustainable development.

The Sustainable Development Goals outline ambition new targets for drinking water and sanitation, including, by 2030:

  • Ending open defecation (SDG 6.2)
  • Achieving universal access to basic services (SDG 1.4)
  • Progress towards safely managed services (SDG 6.1 & 6.2)

The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) has monitored the use of drinking water and sanitation facilities worldwide since 1990. The JMP uses service “ladders” to benchmark and compare progress across countries at different stages of development. The water and sanitation ladders have been updated and new rungs have been added which correspond to the ambition of these SDG targets.

The latest JMP report presents the first estimates for the new SDG indicators and finds that in 2015:

  • 5.2 billion people (71% of the global population) used safely managed drinking water services, meaning a source of drinking water accessible on premises, available when needed and free from contamination. Yet 844 million people still lacked even a basic drinking water service relying on either distant (over 30 mins roundtrip) or unimproved sources to meet their household needs.
  • 2.9 billion people (39%) used a safely managed sanitation service, that is, a sanitation facility with excreta safely disposed of in situ or treated off-site.
  • Data are available on handwashing with water and soap for 70 countries and show that coverage of basic facilities is often less than 50%.

Follow the links below to find out more about data on

Visit the WHO/UNICEF JMP website for further details on indicators, data sources and methods. The new JMP website enables users to explore data on the new SDG indicators as well as an expanded inequalities database with estimates for sub-national regions and wealth quintiles.


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Recent Resources

WHO/UNICEF JMP interactive website

Jul 13, 2017

The new WHO/UNICEF JMP interactive website allows you to explore the latest country, regional and global statistics (including new data for sub-national regions and wealth quintiles), create and share customised charts, and to download the data for further analysis.

Access the website

WASH in the 2030 Agenda

Jul 12, 2017

This briefing note summarizes the new global indicators for monitoring the drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) elements of the SDG targets and reflects extensive technical consultation with over 100 experts from over 60 organisations

Download the brochure in English | Download the brochure in French

Safely managed drinking water

Feb 6, 2017

This Thematic Report on Safely Managed Drinking Water considers the implications of SDG target 6.1, ‘By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all’ and outlines JMP plans for enhanced monitoring of drinking water in the SDG era.


Access report (English) | Access report (French) | Access report (Spanish)

Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2015 Assessment and MDG update

Jun 30, 2015

Looking back on 25 years of water, sanitation and hygiene monitoring, the report  provides a comprehensive assessment of progress since 1990.  The MDG target for drinking water was achieved in 2010 but the world has missed the sanitation target by almost 700 million people. In 2015, 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources, 2.4 billion lack improved sanitation facilities and 946 million still practice open defecation.

Explore data dashboard | Download full report (PDF)