The Challenge

Three out of ten people (2.1 billion people in 2015) do not have access to safe drinking water, six out of ten (4.5 billion people in 2015) do not have access to safely managed sanitation services, and one out of nine (892 million people) practice open defecation.

Improved water resources management and access to safe water and sanitation for all is essential for eradicating poverty, building peaceful and prosperous societies, and ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’ on the path towards sustainable development.


More than
3.7 million
people benefited from improved access to water and sanitation, through UN-Habitat-supported field demonstration projects in Egypt, Nepal, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
More than
water operators’ partnerships improved water service delivery, through strengthened capacity under the global Water Operators’ Partnership Alliance.
By the end of 2018, over
39 million
people globally have benefited from improved access to water and sanitation services through improved policies and strategies for efficient operations and maintenance of water and sanitation systems supported by the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships.

News and Stories

“We now have better toilets, girls had challenges in disposing sanitary towels we could dispose in the composite pit and where everyone would see us there was no privacy. We are glad that the new toilet blocks are better and offers privacy.”

Sumaya Abdalla, Student at Kitangiri Primary school, Tanzania

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

In the last 15 years, we have developed tools to assist policy makers and practitioners develop strategies for implementing the human right to water and sanitation. These include a publication of a Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation with the Centre for Human Rights and Evictions (COHRE) and other partners, a Fact Sheet on the Right to Water and Sanitation.

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The programme has involved both male and female to participate in the project conceptualization to implementation. Beneficiaries are women, children, men and youth.

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Design for sanitation facilities are child friendly, Youth have taken a prominent role in participating in by working as casuals in the project implementation where physical works are involved.


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The programme has developed sanitation facilities that accommodate the physically challenged in communities especially school sanitation facilities, ”disability friendly school sanitation facilities

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Donors and partners

UN-Habitat is part of UN-Water, a body which coordinates the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues. Each UN agencies brings a unique set of expertise in the water and sanitation sector; UNDP, UNICEF and WHO. Partnerships are key to be successful in our work, we collaborate with various partners; the Private sector like Coca-Cola Foundation, Governments both national and local authorities (water utilities), academia, local communities, Non-Governmental organizations.