Access to safe water and the correct management of freshwater ecosystems are essential for human health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity in every community. Recent projections show that by 2050, one in four people will live in an area of the world affected by water shortages.
Those without access to drinking water or sanitation predominantly live in rural areas, especially in Central and South Asia, East and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The lack of water (and the poor quality of the available water in many cases) has serious consequences for the health of the population, aggravating the already devastating effects of malnutrition and its associated diseases. Over 800 children die each day from diseases linked to a lack of sanitation or poor water quality.
North Africa and the Middle East also suffer from major problems in this area. Many of these areas have water stress levels* above 60%, an important indicator that suggests a high probability of water shortages.
Effective water management requires the participation of a wide range of stakeholders, not least the local communities. A United Nations survey conducted in 2016-2017 revealed that over 80% of the 74 countries in question had clearly defined procedures to involve users/service communities in the management of water supplies and sanitation.
Our initiatives focus on universal access to water, basic healthcare, and the elimination of hygienically unsound practices, especially in the most at-risk rural areas of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Through a sustainable approach to water and its sources, we can improve the health of boys and girls, produce better food, create jobs and ensure the economic development of communities.
(*) Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use.