Today on World Water Day, I want to take a closer look at the impact of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which calls for clean water and sanitation for all.

Since the inception of the SDGs, a significant effort has been made in achieving SDG6 and as UN data from 2017 shows 45% of the world population now use safely managed sanitation service.

The Islamic Development Bank Group has always seen the important of SDG6 and has funded projects in our Member Countries, such as a water management project between Chad and Sudan, as well as a wastewater management and sanitary services project in the Al Ghadir Drainage Basin in Lebanon.

But despite these achievements, we still have more to do.

We are all currently aware of the devastating effects of COVID-19 and, as the world works on containing its spread, we are reminded of the importance of sanitation for all and the importance of SDG6. By working towards the targets in SDG6, we are fighting many diseases including the current pandemic.

The first precautionary measure advised by the World Health Organization in containing the spread of COVID-19, is to wash one’s hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This seemingly simple act underlines the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene in preventing many diseases. 

Given the interlinkages between water, health, and hygiene, my message today to the world is that we must step up our collective efforts drastically to achieve SDG6 targets. The stakes are high for the whole humanity - we cannot afford to wait.

Ahead of the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, further action is needed now to achieve SDG6 in terms of access to water and sanitation for all.