All Global Goals Must Flow Through Water

The world is at a turning point. In July, the final report for the Millennium Development Goals was released, and this month, world leaders are meeting to commit to a new set of goals to reach by 2030. The goals are ambitious and cover important topics like protecting the world’s oceans, creating sustainable cities, ending extreme poverty and achieving gender equality.

In an integrated world, the goals will only be achievable if we approach them in a holistic way. As we wrote about earlier this year, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are the foundation upon which many of the goals can be built. Goal #6, ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, is an essential component for achieving most of the goals.

We thought it would be helpful to examine the importance of WASH to achieving the first five goals already covered in this series:

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

The cost of poor WASH to the global economy is staggering. For example, lack of adequate sanitation costs the world 260 billion dollars a year, which is more than the entire GDP of 140 countries. The high economic impact is due to increased health-care costs, loss of productivity, premature deaths and loss of tourism dollars.

In addition, the time spent collecting and storing water decreases productivity around the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, households would save 60 to 90 minutes a day if they had access to safe drinking water for their family. That is time that could be used at an income-generating job, caring for family members or attending school. It is not surprising to learn that for every dollar invested in WASH, four dollars is returned to the global economy.

Goal 2: —> Read More