We believe it is possible to end extreme poverty and make lasting change happen – but only if everyone, everywhere has safe water and sanitation, and practises good hygiene.

WaterAid and Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015 the UN created 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for countries to follow to end extreme poverty by 2030. Goal 6 is to ensure everyone has sustainably managed safe water and sanitation.

By including this goal – and within it specific targets on water, sanitation and hygiene – world leaders showed the importance of making these essentials normal for people living in poverty, and the most marginalised people. SDG 6 is an absolute priority; missing it would make many of the other goals impossible, and leave billions stuck in extreme poverty.

After campaigning for a goal like this for many years, we welcomed the commitment as a major milestone towards ending poverty and transforming the lives of millions. We are resolutely committed to making this a reality – we started because no other organisation like us existed, and we'll finish when no organisation like us is needed.

An integrated approach to tackling poverty

Water, sanitation and hygiene are essential components in tackling poverty, hunger, health and inequality. We produced a Global Goals toolkit to aid advocacy work aimed at achieving Global Goal 6.

"For me, it means even poor people like us would be able to just turn on a tap and get clean water, just like rich people living in the city. " Armand, 33 years old, from Ambohitrinilahy village supporting Global Goal six 'Clean water and sanitation'. Ambohitrinilahy village, Madagascar. WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

Our approach

The hard work to put the SDGs into action has already begun. We are working with political leaders to make sure the systems and resources are in place that will help countries reach their goals. We are helping governments at all levels to develop plans and policies that will enable them to reach everyone with lasting services. We are supporting communities to demand the services they are entitled to, and making sure nobody forgets the promises made.

To meet the challenge and make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere, it will take sustained and coordinated efforts by the whole global community. We will continue improving how we work together to reach interconnected goals, and pushing for urgent and effective action because we know that change needs to happen now. We will keep supporting the most marginalised people to know and demand their rights to water and sanitation. And we will track progress so people can hold their governments to account and ensure their rights are met with sustainable services that last long beyond 2030.

To find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals and the vital role of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene in an integrated approach to tackling poverty, hunger, health and inequality, download our Global Goals toolkit >

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