While much progress has been made in WASH and waste services during the implementing period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a step-change in the way in which data is recorded and money is invested in these services needs to ensure that targets for ending extreme poverty can be met.
The disaggregation of data outlined throughout the SDG monitoring processes is a welcome and necessary step towards identifying those most in need. However, this data disaggregation needs to include disaggregation within cities as a result of extreme inequalities within urban areas between slum areas and the rest of the city. Without this key separation, the data will be blind to the needs of the most vulnerable in cities as their situation is masked by the greater advances made elsewhere within rapidly expanding cities.We are also concerned that measures of extreme poverty will continue to undercount the urban poor. The measure of $1.25 per person per day (target 1.1) is below an extreme poverty line in many urban contexts. We welcome the reference to national definitions of poverty in target 1.2 but these also need to be refined to ensure that the urban poor are adequately represented.
As a member of the End Water Poverty campaign, we join their call for a hygiene-specific target and appropriate indicators in Goal 6 of the proposed SDGs. Goal 6 cannot be achieved if hygiene, a key component, were to be omitted from the list of indicators. We are concerned to hear that the proposals issued to the IAEG in June for this Goal included indicators for water and sanitation but not hygiene. Absence of a hygiene indicator would result in omission of hygiene in implementation and monitoring strategies. Hygiene is one of the most important interventions for human health and development and it is a truly universal necessity. Failure to include hygiene in the implementation targets and indicators and recognise its centrality to achieving sustainable development and wellbeing could seriously undermine the SDG ambitions and leave millions of people at risk of disease and death.
Target 6.1 of the SDG, to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, needs to have indicators which are separated by the location of the water source and the quality of the water source. It will be important for the JMP to continue to report on levels of access to both basic and 'safely managed' water so that this ambitious goal does not disincentivise progress towards basic access. This applies to Target 6.2 for sanitation as well.
Target 6.2, to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations, must have indicators which disaggregate between the location of the sanitation services, and the quality of those services. Also, crucially, there must be a hygiene-specific indicator under this target. We call for the inclusion of an indicator for: Percentage of people who have a handwashing facility with soap and water at home.
Practical Action, as a signatory to the #urbansdg campaign, welcomes the inclusion of Goal 11 to 'Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable'. Target 11.1 on access to housing and basic services proposed a measure of the proportion of the urban population living in slums. The definition of 'slums' needs to be revised to bring it into line with new SDG targets on WASH (Goal 6). Target 11.3 talks about the capacity for 'participatory, integrated and sustainable... planning and management'. Our work over the last 20 years has taught us how crucial this can be for improving the lives of the urban poor, so it is concerning that the currently proposed indicator is 'efficient land use'. We do not feel that this indicator provides any kind of incentive for the kind of change which will support poor people's inclusion.
While much progress has been made on financing WASH and waste services in recent years, the proportion of spending and investment into services which reach unserved and underserved communities remains disproportionately low, as outlined by the GLAAS sector report on WASH development financing. We are calling on governments and organisations to keep their promises on WASH financing, including the Ngor Declaration (2015) made at AfricaSan4, together with the Sharm-el-Sheik declaration to provide transparency on sanitation spending separately from water, and the aspiration to spend a minimum of 0.5% of GDP on sanitation and hygiene.