Presenting target 6.2 on sanitation and hygiene

By 2030, 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
— 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

What and why?

A safely managed sanitation chain is essential to protecting the health of individuals and communities and the environment. Leaking latrines and raw wastewater can spread disease and provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes, as well as pollute groundwater and surface water that may serve as potential sources of drinking water.

Good hygiene practices such as handwashing with soap and water after using the toilet and before preparing and eating meals, are essential to limiting the spread of communicable diseases.

The aim to pay special attention to the needs of women and girls – also part of target 6.1 – includes increasing access to drinking water and sanitation services in the home. Not having to walk for hours to collect water or care for sick household members frees up women’s time, and not having to share sanitary facilities with other households improves women’s security. Improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in the public sphere, including for menstrual hygiene management, will also help to enable more women and girls to attend school and work outside the home.

In 2015, 39 per cent of people worldwide used safely managed sanitation services (i.e. an improved facility that is not shared with other households, where excreta are safely disposed of in situ or transported and treated off-site) and an additional 29 per cent used basic services (i.e. an improved facility that is not shared with other households). 892 million people (12 per cent) still practised open defecation. Estimates for safely managed sanitation were available for 84 countries, representing 48 per cent of the global population. For handwashing, comparable data was available from 70 countries, representing 30 per cent of the global population, which is insufficient to produce a global estimate. Source: Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG baselines (JMP, 2017). Photo credit: UNICEF Ethiopia, Creative Commons Attribution.

In 2015, 39 per cent of people worldwide used safely managed sanitation services (i.e. an improved facility that is not shared with other households, where excreta are safely disposed of in situ or transported and treated off-site) and an additional 29 per cent used basic services (i.e. an improved facility that is not shared with other households). 892 million people (12 per cent) still practised open defecation. Estimates for safely managed sanitation were available for 84 countries, representing 48 per cent of the global population. For handwashing, comparable data was available from 70 countries, representing 30 per cent of the global population, which is insufficient to produce a global estimate. Source: Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG baselines (JMP, 2017). Photo credit: UNICEF Ethiopia, Creative Commons Attribution.

How can monitoring help?

The indicator incorporates aspects of accessibility and acceptability and safety, to further address the normative criteria of the human right to water. To ensure public health beyond the household level, this indicator incorporates the safe management of faecal waste along the entire sanitation chain, from containment to treatment. By analysing these different aspects, indicator 6.2.1 focuses the attention of policy- and decision makers on where investment matters the most for health, gender and environmental outcomes.

Progress towards target 6.2 at the global level will be monitored through one indicator: