The U.N. Millennium Development Goal on expanding access to water and sanitation services by 2015 maybe missed as donors increasingly shy away from funding water projects and are instead focusing more on health and education-related initiatives, a new research by the World Bank and Water Aid has shown.
“We are way off track, and 1 billion people will be let down. The aid flows are very small compared with what is needed,” said John Garret, a senior policy analyst at Water Aid, a U.K.-based non-governmental organization focused on providing water and sanitation services to people in developing countries.
Among those who will be hardest hit by this projected failure to meet the MDG on water and sanitation are women and girls, the World Bank said in the report.
Water Aid is due to publish a new report next month that is based on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Analysis by the NGO has shown that water and sanitation programs shrank in number as compared to the total projects funded by donors in the last 20 years.
“In the mid-1990s, water and sanitation made up about 8 percent of global financial aid, putting it ahead of issues such as reproductive health and population growth. But between 2007 and 2009 – the last year for which comprehensive figures are available – it was just over 5 percent,” the organisation noted.
Julia Bucknall, the World Bank’s water chief, said this decline may be due to donors’ and the public perception of water and sanitation as an unglamorous policy area.
“It just does not attract donor funding,” Bucknall said. “It seems to be easier for people to talk about disease, and ignore sanitation.”