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  • by Karma Loveday

WaterAid calls on G20 to clean up its act

Developing country economies would be boosted by trillions of dollars over the next two decades if clean water, toilets and hygiene were brought to everyone, according to a new report out from WaterAid.

Ensuring everyone everywhere has access to even basic water, hygiene and toilets would bring returns of up to 21 times their cost, found Vivid Economics, who conducted the report research.

Mission critical: invest in water, sanitation and hygiene for a healthy and green economic recovery showed that reaching the levels of access defined by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals could unlock huge sums:

  • ensuring everyone has a toilet where waste is safely managed can yield US$86bn a year in greater productivity and reduced health costs amongst other benefits;

  • ensuring everyone has somewhere to wash their hands with soap and water can yield $US45 billion a year; and

  • ensuring everyone has a tap at home can yield $US37billion a year.

The report was published just days before G20 finance ministers and Central Bank governors met in Venice to discuss ensuring global economic prosperity in the wake of the pandemic and in the face of climate change. WaterAid called on G20 ministers to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is central to plans for developing countries. WaterAid’s report added that investing in WASH is crucial for building climate resilience; a key priority for the G20 and COP26 set to take place in Glasgow in November.

The call came just weeks after new figures from the WHO and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene showed that efforts need to double to ensure everyone everywhere has basic access to water and sanitation by 2030, and quadruple to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for universal access to safely managed services.


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