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 and 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 2017:
- 3 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 785 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.
- 4 billion people (45%) 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 78 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 (www.washdata.org) 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.
Notes on the data
WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene
Since 1990, WHO and UNICEF have tracked progress on global water and sanitation goals through the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP). The JMP monitors trends in coverage; helps build national monitoring capacity in developing countries; develops and harmonises questionnaires, indicators and definitions to ensure comparability of data over time and among countries; and informs policymakers of the status of the water supply and sanitation sector through annual publications. The JMP draws guidance from a technical advisory group of leading experts in water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and from institutions involved in data collection and sector monitoring. Further information about the JMP and its methodology can be found at the JMP website.
The JMP estimates for WASH in schools are based on information collected through national Education Management Information Systems (EMIS), censuses and surveys, as well as secondary sources (e.g. UNESCO UIS) in the absence of primary data. Data are harmonized to the extent possible based on the indicator definitions for ‘basic’ service. Further details on indicators, data sources and methods for WASH in schools estimates can be found at the JMP website, including recommended core questions to support harmonized monitoring: Core questions and indicators for monitoring WASH in schools in the SDGs.
Definitions of basic WASH services in schools
Schools with an improved drinking water source with water available at the time of the questionnaire or survey are classified as having ‘basic’ service. Schools without water available, but with an improved source are classified as having ‘limited’ service, and those with unimproved or no water source are classified as having ‘no service’.
Schools with improved sanitation facilities which are single-sex and usable at the time of the survey or questionnaire are classified as having ‘basic’ service. The term ‘usable’ refers to toilets or latrines that are accessible to students (doors are unlocked or a key is available at all times), functional (the toilet is not broken, the toilet hole is not blocked, and water is available for flush/pour-flush toilets), and private (there are closable doors that lock from the inside and no large gaps in the structure). Those using improved sanitation facilities which are either not single-sex or not usable are classified as having ‘limited’ service. However, pre-primary schools without single-sex toilets may still be considered to have ‘basic’ sanitation service if the toilets are usable. Schools with unimproved or no toilets are classified as having ‘no service’.
Schools with handwashing facilities with water and soap available at the time of the questionnaire or survey are considered to have ‘basic’ service. Those with handwashing facilities that have water available at the time of the questionnaire or survey, but no soap, are considered to have ‘limited’ service, while schools with no facilities or no water available for handwashing are classified as having ‘no service’.