South Asia Dialogue Series on Sustainable Development Goal 6

Students Arif and Aziz pour safe drinking water into a glass. The water was collected from a tubewell. Once there was no source of safe water to drink in the Madrassa premises. Bangla Bazar Siddiquiya Dakhil Madrassa, Sundarganj, Gaibandha, Rangpur, B ...
Image: WaterAid/ Rakibul Alam Khan

Watch this webinar series focusing on key challenges and solutions in reaching universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in South Asia. Produced in partnership with Centre for Policy and Research’s Scaling City Institutions for India Initiative (CPR SCI-FI), Sanitation and Water for All, UNICEF, Athena Infonomics, Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) and IRC.

WASH access in South Asia

In the past five years, South Asia has made good progress on improving sanitation. Access to at least basic water services is now also relatively high across the region, ranging from 99% in Maldives to 75% in Afghanistan. However, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of universal access to safely managed sanitation is a long way off, with 2020 Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) data suggesting that more than half of households in India, Bangladesh and Nepal do not have access to safely managed sanitation. Similarly, the SDG target for universal access to safely managed water is also off the mark, most notably in Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and Afghanistan, where three quarters of households lack access.

The 2020 JMP data suggest large variation in basic access to hygiene services across South Asia, with 80% of people in Pakistan able to wash their hands with soap and water at home, compared with 58% in Bangladesh. For countries in the region to deliver on their commitments to provide safely managed water and sanitation services to all by 2030, strong political will and adequate financing are required.

The South Asia Dialogue Series on SDG 6 is a joint initiative by WaterAid, CPR SCI-FI, Sanitation and Water for All, UNICEF, Athena Infonomics, FANSA and IRC to encourage evidence-based lessons across the region to facilitate discussions and address the challenges hampering progress towards SDG 6 in South Asia. The webinar series focuses on key challenges and solutions in the areas of: strengthening municipal finances; access to safe and affordable WASH services, and the impact of climate change on these; data systems and monitoring progress; and gender inclusion.

As the sector evolves, innovative solutions are emerging to help address some of the most pertinent issues. We look forward to encouraging and facilitating further discussions on these.

Read a summary of the key takeaways from the webinars here (PDF).

Webinar 1: Municipal financing for sanitation in small towns.


Webinar 2: Fostering robust local data ecosystems for sustainable sanitation service delivery in cities of South Asia.


Webinar 3: Mobilising Women’s Leadership to Achieve SDG 6.


Webinar 4: WASH and climate action.

Top image: Students Arif and Aziz pour safe drinking water from a tubewell into a glass at their school in Sundarganj, Bangladesh.