Essential element: why international aid for water, sanitation and hygiene is still a critical source of finance for many countries


2015 is a landmark year for the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.

It brings to a close the Millennium Development Goals period, marked by its many successes but also its failures. It also signals the start of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development era with all countries committing to end water and sanitation poverty for good, achieving universal provision of these essential services by 2030 at the latest.

Effective financing is critical to this new agenda and many developing countries face an increased number of options for financing their national plans – from domestic, international, public and private sources – than they did at the turn of the millennium. Related to this, the increased availability of private finance and some real progress made in lifting economic growth rates has led to an assumption that international aid is declining in importance, even becoming redundant.

On the eve of the new post-2015 sustainable development framework, it is important to look ahead at the challenges to financing universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene. This report shows that for many countries aid will be a vital international resource.