SDGs: Ensuring Access to Water and Sanitation

The United Nations has developed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that they hope to achieve between now and 2030. Covering a wide range of topics, these goals strive to “end poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change.” Among these goals, there are two water related targets, which aim to ensure access to water and sanitation for all and conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources.

One question that needs to be answered in terms of making these goals a reality is how they will be financed. Chris Williams, a writer for the Huffington Post and the Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, voices his concerns in his article Can We Finance Sustainable Development? He explains that “Traditional channels of overseas development assistance (ODA) from developed nations to the developing world are not only insufficient for financing the ambitious post-2015 agenda, but it's clear that development as we know it is no longer relevant, nor desirable.”

Fortunately, there are many opportunities available for people to get involved in the global initiative to ensure access to safe water and sanitation for all. Chris Williams states that one option that has proven successful is the use of global multi-stakeholder partnerships, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), and the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI). The UN also suggests that one thing the everyday person can do is raise awareness by joining or spreading the word about the civil society-led Action/2015 campaign, which will be hosting multiple events around the world.

 As for Water for South Sudan (WFSS), there are many options available for helping to drill more wells and increase access to safe, clean water. Water for South Sudan currently receives no government funding to run its operations in South Sudan. The nonprofit organization raises its own funds and is supported by donors in all 50 US States and 29 other countries. The full cost to drill a well  is $15,000, with well naming sponsorship levels starting at $5,000.  Individuals are encouraged to donate any gift amount, no matter how much, and groups, such as schools or families, can raise money through WFSS’s Well Sponsorship Program and receive naming rights for the well that they helped to finance. Other options include the H2O Project, which encourages people to donate the money they would spend on beverages for two weeks and only drink water, and organizing a fundraising project from one of the many ideas posted on the WFSS website.