SDG 6: Where we stand right now

Published on: 05/03/2019




SDG 6: Where we stand right now

World Water Day is on the 22nd March, and as our portfolio grows with market-based solutions aiming to solve the global water crisis (among others), we would like to take this opportunity to assess the current outlook of the water and sanitation challenge.

Directly aligned with TRANSFORM’s mission, Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aims to ensure access to clean, safe and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone in the world by 2030. The challenge is significant, but experts are optimistic that the situation can be quickly improved if leaders treat it as a priority1.

SDG 6 in numbers

Safe drinking water and sanitation are basic human rights, yet a significant part of the global population does not have access to either. SDG 6 aims to meet the needs of the 844 million people with no basic drinking water service and the 2.3 billion without access to basic sanitation2.

Twelve per cent of the global population still practises open defecation (which declined from 20% since 2000). While several countries are on track to meet the 2030 target to end open defecation, the progress in more than half the countries is too slow to reach it.

Experts say they are optimistic, but according to the World Bank, countries need to quadruple annual spending to $150 billion to deliver universal safe water and sanitation3.

SDG 6 in review

Last year, the High Level Political Forum, an annual event that facilitates the sharing of successes, challenges, lessons learned and recommendations for the SDGs, reviewed Goal 6. It produced an in-depth report about the current situation regarding water and sanitation, and what needs to be done to achieve the goal by 2030.

It found that, at the current rate of progress, the world is not on track to meet the global SDG 6 targets. Key messages included4:

  • Global SDG 6 targets must be localised and adapted to the country context;
  • Effective water resources management needs more and better data;
  • Public participation is critical;
  • Good water governance is essential;
  • Capacity must be developed;
  • Smart technologies can improve management and service delivery;
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships can unlock potential.

In addition, the report highlighted how access to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) at schools can enhance the health not only of pupils and teachers, but also of their families at home. It also outlined how women need greater engagement in decision-making about WASH infrastructures and services.


By providing funding and support to innovative and sustainable market-based solutions, TRANSFORM is helping drive progress towards meeting the SDGs. Among other goals, the initiative is directly aligned with SDG 6, which is reflected in our ever-growing portfolio.

WASH projects such as Sanivation, Sanergy and HappyTap are all making a huge impact on the lives of low-income households, with our support. They were recently joined by new water-focused projects and sanitation projects , therefore building our portfolio and taking us a step closer to achieving the critical SDG 6.

We’ll be sharing more on the social enterprises we’re partnering with on clean water and sanitation throughout this year, with a focus on our water projects this month in the lead up to World Water Day on the 22nd March.


1 Global Citizen, Half the World's Schools Lack Clean Water and Safe Toilets:

2 UN Stats, High-Level Political Forum Goals In Focus:

3 Global Citizen, Half the World's Schools Lack Clean Water and Safe Toilets:

4 UN Water, Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation: