Highlighted results

2.2 million people gained access to safe drinking water

3.6 million people gained access to better sanitation

2.4 million people benefited from improved river basin managemen

Additional sources

WASH strategy

WASH strategy

Theory of Change

Download PDF document on the Theory of Change

Introduction

Large parts of the world are struggling with water scarcity, others with flooding. There are droughts in vulnerable areas of Africa and Asia. Climate change often aggravates the problems. A shortage of clean drinking water and inadequate sanitation have a cost in human lives and disrupt the economy, as can be seen here. Water shortages and growing pressure on scarce natural resources are increasingly leading to conflicts: often locally, sometimes even between countries. In an increasing number of regions in North Africa and the Middle East, water and food shortages are leading to forced migration. The Netherlands contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through work on improved water management and drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). SDG 6, clean water and sanitation, has the following objectives:

sustainable access to clean drinking water and sanitation for the entire world populationimproved water qualitysubstantial improvement in efficient water useintegrated water management at all levels.

Between 2016 and 2030, the Netherlands will help 50 million people with improved sanitation and 30 million people with better access to safe drinking water. In addition, the Netherlands will contribute to more efficient water use in agriculture and integrated water management at all levels, both local and regional. The Netherlands is also working with its partners on cross-border water management in order to resolve conflicts at an early stage.

Result areas

Integrated water management Drinking water and sanitary facilities

Featured project water

UNICEF West Afrika

The Netherlands supports UNICEF programmes in nine countries in West Africa: Benin, Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania and Sierra Leone. These programmes ensured access to toilets and clean drinking water for millions of individuals, especially very poor people, improved health and quality of life, and enabled women to spend less time collecting water, creating more space for paid work or childcare.

Many schools in West Africa do not have toilets or clean drinking water, making it difficult for girls to attend due to a lack of privacy. Insufficient education in turn reduces their chances of independence later in life.

Many health centres lack sanitary facilities. This means that there are no hand-washing facilities, for example, which gives rise to the risk of infection. That is why this programme is aimed not only at individuals but also at institutions, such as schools and health centres.

The programme has also contributed to the management of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Integrated water management

Polluted water in Jakarta. Photo: Carel de Groot, Dutch Embassy in Jakarta

Integrated water management

The Netherlands supports organisations responsible for water management (local, national and international) in the planning, management and reasonable use of water. The Netherlands also supports projects that lead directly to better water security and water safety for citizens and businesses. Examples include projects that protect against flooding and improve the functioning of irrigation and drainage systems. In 2018, a total of 2.4 million people benefited from better management of river basins and safe deltas (the target was 3 million).

Open result area

Polluted water in Jakarta. Photo: Carel de Groot, Dutch Embassy in Jakarta

The importance of proper water management

According to UN Water, around 700 million people are currently suffering from water scarcity, while flooding is by far the most damaging natural disaster. Many places have no access to good-quality water, partly due to polluted water sources. Around 80% of waste water worldwide is discharged without treatment.

As water transcends administrative boundaries between municipalities, provinces and countries, water management must also be organised at the river basin level. A management plan for a river basin must take into account supply and demand and the effects of climate change on the quantity and quality of water available. It should provide for measures to make the best possible use of water. Such plans need to allocate water to the various users while enabling measures that increase the amount of available water per user, protect water quality and maintain the ecological function of rivers. A river basin authority needs to develop river basin management plans in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders. The major challenge is the implementation of these plans: the relevant organisations do not always have sufficient capacity and financial resources for this.

Results

The Netherlands supports the development of management plans for 16 river basins and deltas through multi-donor programmes, such as the Global Water Partnership and the World Bank’s Water Partnership Programme. The Dutch share in the financing of these programmes determines the number of plans that the Netherlands supports.

In 2018, more than 2.4 million people in Asia and Africa benefited directly from projects funded by the Netherlands for improved river basin management and safe deltas. In 2017, the Netherlands reached a total of 10.2 million people thanks to the completion of a major project by the Asian Development Bank in China.

Results

Indicator

Integrated water management

Progress

On track

More than 2.4 million people in Asia and Africa have benefited directly from projects financed by the Netherlands for improved river basin management and safe deltas.

The Netherlands provides support for improved water management through a number of partners. This includes work in areas such as legislation, institutional development and capacity building. The Netherlands also provides support in drawing up and implementing plans for improved water management.

The data for 2016 and 2017 are in accordance with the reporting period of the Annual Report for Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation. The data for 2018 are for the period from October 2017 to September 2018.

River basin simulation for improved transboundary water management in the Nile: case study of the Tekezze-Atbara sub basin

Millions of people depend on water from the Tekezze and Atbara rivers. The Tekezze-Atbara basin suffers from water scarcity and the lack of sustainable water management. Three dams operate within the river basin without co-ordination: the Gibra and Atbara dam complexes in Sudan and the Tekezze Five in Ethiopia. If the dams worked together, the limited water sources could be managed in a more sustainable way, benefiting both Sudan and Ethiopia.

The purpose of the Tekezze-Atbara project is to make such a collaboration possible. To this end, researchers from both countries are creating a simulation model of the river basin. This should help to determine how best to co-ordinate water demand and supply for irrigation and hydropower. The project is being carried out by the Hydraulic Research Centre Sudan and the Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources.

Website Tekezze-Atbara project

See website for more information on the Tekezze-Atbara project

Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA)

The CIWA programme supports stakeholders in seven cross-border river basins, in places such as the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region. These regions are experiencing increasing drought and are competing for scarce water or need protection against flooding. Climate change is exacerbating the situation.

CIWA encourages joint investment in information systems, institutions and infrastructure. Water storage and distribution or flood warning systems, for instance, are more effective if countries share the relevant information. Co-operation can make it possible to use the same water for power generation upstream and irrigation downstream in two different countries, for instance, increasing food security and making countries more resilient to climate change.

Governments often see political risks in such co-operation, which complicates the process, but CIWA has a long-term agenda. As a neutral party, the World Bank has the confidence of most African governments in this context.

Drinking water and sanitary facilities

SNV Sanitation Progam. Photo: Carel de Groot

Drinking water and sanitary facilities

This result area aims to provide 30 million people with safe drinking water and 50 million people with improved sanitation by 2030. In 2018, we ensured safe drinking water for 2.2 million people and improved sanitary facilities for 3.6 million people. These figures exceeded the original target values of 1.6 million and 2.3 million respectively. This was made possible by the improved information on results and the excellent results of the UNICEF programme.

Open result area

SNV Sanitation Progam. Photo: Carel de Groot

Drinking water

In 2015, 844 million people worldwide did not have access to safe water. Small children in particular are susceptible to diseases transmitted by water. Poor access to water also has a particularly negative impact on women and girls, as collecting water is often their task.

Results linked to drinking water

In 2018, 2.2 million people gained access to an improved water source, significantly more than the target value of 1.6 million. For comparison, 2.5 million people received access to clean drinking water thanks to Dutch funding in 2017. A new regional programme for water and sanitation was developed with UNICEF in 2018. This is being implemented in seven countries in West Africa and the Sahel and will make a major contribution to the goal of providing 30 million people with clean drinking water between 2016 and 2030.

Sanitary facilities

In 2015, 2.3 billion people had no access to hygienic basic sanitary facilities and more than 800 million people were still defecating outdoors. A lack of hygienic sanitary facilities at home, at school or at work leads to health problems and loss of productive days. It also leads to school absenteeism, especially by menstruating girls.

Results linked to sanitary facilities

In the reporting year, 3.6 million people gained access to improved sanitary facilities. This is higher than the original target of 2.3 million people. For comparison, 2.4 million people gained access to improved sanitation with Dutch support in 2017. In addition to installing sanitary facilities in homes, the programme also helped to build them into schools. More schools now make it easier for girls to maintain hygiene during menstruation, which is crucial to improving their participation in education. This eventually contributes to better opportunities for girls and women.

The Netherlands aims to help a total of 50 million people to gain access to improved sanitation in the 2016-2030 period.

Results

Indicator

Drinking water

Progress

On track

The goal is to provide 30 million people with safe drinking water by 2030. In 2018, we provided 2.2 million people with safe drinking water, exceeding the original target of 1.6 million.

Some 2.2 million people gained access to an improved water source in 2018. This is substantially more than originally planned (1.6 million). For comparison, Dutch funding helped 2.5 million people to gain access to clean drinking water in 2017. The better-than-expected figures are partly thanks to an improvement in result measurement and reporting. The results of the UNICEF programme in West Africa (see project description) also exceeded expectations.

A new regional programme related to water and sanitation was also developed with UNICEF in this reporting year. Its scale means that it will make an important contribution to the 2030 target.

The data for 2016 and 2017 are in accordance with the reporting period of the Annual Report for Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation. The data for 2018 are for the period from September 2017 to September 2018.

Indicator

Sanitary facilities

Progress

On track

This result area aims to provide 50 million people with improved sanitation by 2030. In 2018, we provided 3.6 million people with improved sanitation. This exceeded the original target, which was 2.3 million people.

In this reporting year, 3.6 million individuals gained access to improved sanitary facilities, well above the target of 2.3 million people. For comparison, the corresponding figure in 2017 was 2.4 million. The improved results stem partly from enhanced result measurement and reporting, and partly from the fact that a number of large programmes, such as UNICEF’s, performed better than expected.

In addition to installing sanitary facilities in homes, the programme also helped to build them into schools. More teachers are aware of hygiene-related issues around menstruation, which is crucial to improving girls’ participation in education. This eventually contributes to better opportunities for girls and women.

The data for 2016 and 2017 are in accordance with the reporting period of the Annual Report for Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation. The data for 2018 are for the period from September 2017 to September 2018.

Financial Inclusion Improves Sanitation and Health (FINISH)

The WASTE Foundation works with its partners AMREF Health Africa and Aqua for All on improved access to sanitation. It strengthens governments, local businesses and local financial institutions to enable households to build robust sanitary facilities through microfinance. It also provides support to private companies to help them establish themselves in this sector. The foundation reached 151,000 people in India and Kenya in 2018 and generated more than one million working days for local construction companies.

Because the local microfinance providers involved invest their own money, every euro provided by the Netherlands is supplemented by € 12 in local financing. Another innovation is the issue of sanitation bonds in India, which is mobilising € 100 million. The FINISH partnership was expanded in 2018 through an agreement with Water.org. There are plans to extend this programme to Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Photo: Carel de Groot

Background information theme water

Glimpse into the future

Building and strengthening institutions in the water sector will continue to be important for sustainable results in the future. The aim is to strengthen services throughout the water chain, locally and nationally. Special attention is paid to involving all stakeholders in decision-making processes, offering opportunities for women and girls, adapting to climate change and providing sustainable local financing. In the case of competing claims for scarce water resources originating from different sectors (agriculture, energy, households and the environment), a landscape approach is applied to select the best option for the area concerned.

The Netherlands is focusing on the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Middle East and North Africa regions, and is therefore phasing out water programmes in countries such as Benin, Ghana, Indonesia and Rwanda. New water programmes will be developed and launched in the coming period. Important partners in this process will include UNICEF, Aqua for All, IHE Delft, FAO and the World Bank. The Netherlands will also seek partnerships with other countries, such as Luxembourg, which have a great deal of experience in the new focus regions.

Additional sources

Water theme page on the Dutch government website

Page on current policy on the water theme

Facebook page

Follow this theme on Facebook

Video SDG 6 – the Water challenge 2030

Video over hoe Nederland de wateruitdaging aanpakt

Expenditure by channel

Expenditure