Bridging the divide

Charlie Bibby/ Financial Times

Our new briefing paper Bridging the divide reveals that international water and sanitation aid is failing to reach the poorest, most marginalised people. In fact, it is exacerbating global inequalities rather than reducing them.

Bridging the divide reveals that just eight of the world’s 48 poorest nations have been among the top ten recipients of water and sanitation aid in any of the last six years.

  • Jordan – despite having over 90% access to both water and sanitation – receives US$855 in water and sanitation aid for each person lacking access.
  • At the other end of the scale, for each person lacking access, Ethiopia receives just $1.56, the Democratic Republic of Congo just $0.80, and Madagascar only $0.42.

Despite its fundamental importance, most donors give relatively low priority to water, sanitation and hygiene aid, accounting in 2012 for just 6% of overall aid.

Much of the aid that is promised is never delivered. Over the past decade, donors have failed to pass on a third of the money they pledged to spend on water and sanitation aid – that’s US$27.6 billion out of US$81.2 billion since 2002.