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

Highlighted publications

Global Report
UN World Water Development Report 2021
Global Report
World Water Development Report 2020: Water and Climate Change
Tools and Guidelines
Climate Proofing Toolkit: For Basic Urban Infrastructure with a Focus on Water and Sanitation
Policy and Strategy
Global Water Operators Partnership Alliance Strategy 2019 - 2023
Tools and Guidelines
Progress of wastewater treatment - Piloting the monitoring methodology and initial findings for SDG 6.3.1
Case Study
Youth-led Mwanza City Informal Settlements Baseline Survey: State of Living Conditions and Access to Urban Basic Services

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.

Our Experts

Hezekiah O. Pireh
Water and Sanitation unit, Urban Basic Services
Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division