Gathering water from wells or contaminated streams a considerable distance away and defecating outdoors are still the norm for many people. Around 2 billion people worldwide still do not have access to safe drinking water.
That said, there have already been clear signs of progress towards achieving this UN Sustainable Development Goal: UNICEF and WHO figures indicate that, between 2015 and 2020, the percentage of the world’s population with access to a safe water supply increased from 70% to 74%. Further progress is expected; however, at the current rate of progress, some 1.6 billion people are still expected to be without safe drinking water supplies in 2030.
In SDG 6, the UN has undertaken to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all”. This is because there is still also a lack of adequate sanitation: access to safe sanitation grew from 47% to 54% in the aforementioned time period (2015 – 2020), and a further 24% of the world’s population has access to basic sanitation. However, around 470 million people (as at 2020) still do not even have access to basic sanitation. This not only increases the risk of infectious diseases; it also leads to water resources becoming polluted.
For many years, KfW has been helping to ensure that people in developing countries and emerging economies have a safe supply of drinking water and access to good, safe sanitation. This includes funding potabilization and drinking water distribution, programmes to reduce water loss, measures to ensure safe sanitation and the treatment of sewage, or funding sector reform programmes.
The water sector has long been a high priority within KfW Development Bank and represents one of the largest sectors, accounting for around 10% of total commitments. In 2022, more than EUR 1 billion was again committed to projects that contribute to the achievement of SDG 6. KfW is thus reaffirming its commitment to helping people in developing countries and emerging economies to improve their drinking water and sanitation and to counter the effects of climate change through the management of water resources.