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The world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

TitleSummary progress update 2021 : SDG 6 – water and sanitation for all
Publication TypeProgress Report
Year of Publication2021
Authors-Water, UN
Pagination54 p. : fig., tab.
Date Published03/2021
Place PublishedGeneva, Switzerland.
Publication LanguageEnglish

This report provides an update on the status of the 8 targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The overall conclusion is that the world is not on track to achieve SDG 6.

Billions of people worldwide still live without safely managed drinking water and sanitation, especially in rural areas and least developed countries; the current rate of progress need to quadruple to reach the global target of universal access by 2030.

For wastewater treatment and water quality, it is not possible to assess the global situation since country data are missing for large parts of the world, leaving billions of people at risk. 

Water use has remained relatively stable at the global level during the last 10 years, and with 17 per cent of available water resources being withdrawn, the world as a whole is not considered water-stressed. However, this
number hides stark regional differences: in some regions the level of water stress has increased by 35 per cent during the last two decades, and many countries withdraw all their renewable water resources or even rely on nonrenewable resources that will eventually run dry.

When it comes to integrated water resources management (IWRM), the current rate of progress needs to double to meet the global targets, and only two SDG regions are on track to have all their transboundary water bodies
covered by operational cooperation agreements.

One fifth of the world's river basins are experiencing rapid changes in the area covered by surface waters, indicative of flooding and drought events, which are associated with climate change.

Although official development assistance (ODA) commitments to the water sector increased slightly in recent years, this is mainly due to an increase in concessional lending, and the gap between actual disbursements and future commitments is growing.

Participatory procedures are increasingly recognized in national policies and laws whereas their implementation have been moderate. 



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