44. This chapter provides an overview of the access situation in all countries. In 2015, countries at the global level adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sets new definitions and targets for achieving better and more sustainable water and sanitation services. Before 2015, countries agreed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), where drinking water sources were classified into “improved” and “unimproved.” Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) now distinguishes “basic water” services (close to the previously “improved” access), and “safely managed” water services, which recognizes three additional aspects: access on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. For sanitation, while the MDGs distinguish between improved and unimproved facilities, the SDGs now refer to “basic sanitation services (improved but not shared with others)” and “safely managed sanitation,” which reflect whether human waste is either disposed in situ, emptied and treated, or whether the wastewater is treated. The SDG 6 also includes a target on improving water quality, reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated waste water, and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally (see Box 5)

45. The World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund (WHO/UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP),19 is tasked with monitoring progress toward meeting SDG 6 on water supply and sanitation (WSS). The JMP includes nearly 5,000 national databases enabling the production of estimates for over 200 countries, areas, and territories. National, regional, and global estimates can be explored online or downloaded for further analysis. Given JMP’s role in monitoring SDG 6 and the ease of data accessibility, this SoS 2018 report uses its estimates to produce access estimates. This methodology differs to the approach employed in the 2015 SoS, which relies directly on household-level or household-level-based statistics for the bulk of the analysis. Therefore, the figures quoted for access in both reports are not directly comparable in all cases. To observe trends, data from the JMP at the time of preparation of SoS 2015 have been used to analyze evolution in the access dimension. This does not solve entirely the issue of comparability, however, since the indicators “safely managed water services” and “safely managed sanitation” have been tracked only since 2015. They include different estimates by the JMP than the indicators previously used for tracking the MDGs, so the report includes some assumptions and uses the above mentioned indicators in different cases to illustrate the progress made by the countries in improving access to the services since 2015.

Box 5 SDGs on Water Supply and Sanitation

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN member states in 2015, has elaborated 17 SDGs subdivided into 169 objectives, which form an action plan to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address actual and future global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. SDG 6 focuses on clean water and sanitation (Table B5.1). For each objective, indicators are defined and monitored to follow progress and achievements of SDGs (Table B5.2).