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SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Protecting water reserves

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%. 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, 467 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.

KfW Development Bank committed close to EUR 800 million in 2021 to projects that contributed towards achieving SDG 6. This meant that they were able to help 9.3 million people gain new or improved access to drinking water. The commitments made in 2021 helped to provide around 3 million people with access to, and capacity for, improved sanitation and sewerage.

Furthermore, in 2021 KfW Development Bank contributed to measures that will offer almost a quarter of a million people better protection against the effects of heavy rain and flooding.

More on this topic (PDF, 129 KB, non-accessible)

Perspectives on Development Finance - Water – the overlooked crisis (PDF, 37 MB, non-accessible)

SDG6 on the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) website (German only)

“A crisis in slow motion”

Interview with Dr Christian Lütke Wöstmann, Director of KfW’s Centre of Competence for Infrastructure, Water and Natural Resources, on global water shortages and why we underestimate the risks associated with them.

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Clear water for Cape Town - Modernisation of treatment plants

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KfW's contribution to SDG 6

  • Sewage treatment plant

    Sewage disposal

    Improving water quality and promoting renewable energies

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  • Water extraction from Tigres

    Water treatment

    Rehabilitation of infrastructure in provinces liberated from IS in Iraq

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  • Boy drinks water

    Sustainable use of Resources

    Protecting valuable water resources

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    Development Research

    Prevention instead of panic on “Day Zero” | Strengthening resilience against water crises

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