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Published on: 14/07/2015

This week the UN holds the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From 13-16 July 2015, world leaders and prominent development partners look at the way forward for post-2015 development. The big question is: who will pay? The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen convenes a high level side event on financing universal access to water and sanitation services by 2030. 

SDG #6 is an ambitious effort that is estimated to cost about $47bn a year

With plenary meetings, round tables, and nearly 200 side events, the event hosts high-level political representatives, including Heads of State and Government, and Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Development, non-governmental organisations and representatives from the business sector. The conference in Addis Ababa will result in concrete economic and financial policy actions at domestic, regional and international level, to realise the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Target 6 of the SDGs, for water and sanitation, is unambiguous: by 2030 every man, woman and child should have access to a safe water and sanitation. With 2.4 billion people without access to sanitation, 663 million without clean water, at least a billion who defecate in the open, SDG #6 is an ambitious effort that is estimated to cost about $47bn a year, according to the World Bank.

The United Nations and many other parties, including IRC, have stressed the need to mobilise (domestic) resources, both public and private, and apply innovative financing mechanisms. The scale of the challenge is such that development aid will only provide a very small share of the necessary investments. Recently, IRC"s Catarina Fonseca told The Guardian that the next five years are crucial to target the finance required for a world where everyone has clean water and a safe toilet (see the link to the article below). 

Remarkably though, is that the preceding two International Conferences on Financing for Development and other large development political meetings have had little room for addressing specific water and sanitation sector needs. To most in the sector, it is clear that without major financial innovation in the sector, we will not reach universal access by 2030.

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation therefore convenes a high level side event during the Third Conference on this topic. IRC is one of the co-conveners, together with: DFID, EIB, OECD (tbc), SWA, UNSGAB, UNICEF, UN-Water, USAID, WaterAid,, The World Bank Group, WSSCC/Global Sanitation Fund.


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