Vital humanitarian work

Despite the fact that access to drinking water and sanitation has been recognized as a human right since 2010, nearly 2.2 billion people still do not have access to safely managed domestic drinking water supply services today. ‘’Worse, in sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people using probably contaminated water increased by 45% between 2000 and 2017,” warns expert Gérard Payen. 4.2 billion human beings still do not have access to sanitation services that are safely managed, i.e. 55% of the world’s population.
As a result, 2.6 million people are still dying each year of water-related diseases, which makes unsanitary water one of the leading causes of death worldwide. As humanitarian workers, we are combatting this scourge at ground level, day in day out, but also fighting national and international bodies to ensure that those we help have their voices heard


million people die every year
from diseases related to water and unsanitary conditions
of the world’s population
is still without access to clean water
people lack adequate sanitation
die every minute from the consequences of drinking unclean water
Nearly 1/4
of the world’s population
is under very severe water stress
2,6 million people die every year
from diseases related to water and unsanitary conditions
29% of the world’s population
is still without access to clean water
2 billion
people lack adequate sanitation
5 persons
die every minute from the consequences of drinking unclean water
Nearly 1/4 of the world’s population
is under very severe water stress

A source of life, development, economy and education, water is unfortunately all too often a cause of poverty, disease and death. 2.6 million people, including 361,000 children under the age of five, die each year of diseases relating to water and an unsanitary environment. That’s 5 deaths every minute.

In 2020, 4.2 billion people still lacked adequate sanitation. Of these, 673 million still defecating in the open air. “Tons of fecal matter are deposited in the natural environment. A single gram contains up to 10,000 viruses, including poliomyelitis and one million bacteria responsible for dysentery, diarrhea and cholera. Dying from these diseases today should be unthinkable.” It is estimated that access to toilets and routine handwashing could save hundreds of thousands of lives deaths every year.



map state water poverty index

Map : l’Atlas mondial de l’eau, David Blanchon, cartography : Aurélie Boissière (Editions Autrement).


Of course, progress has been made, but it is very insufficient and we know that the current trajectory will not make it possible to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030, particularly in the area of access to water, especially in Africa, where the population will double within 30 years.”

Having worked on the ground since 1980 delivering aid to alleviate some of the most severe humanitarian crises (Afghanistan, Rwanda, Indonesia, DRC, Horn of Africa, Sahel, Philippines, Nepal, etc.), SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has made the fight against water-related diseases  its major combat. This decision was motivated by a three-fold observation: the vital issue of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in crisis situations, the dramatic mortality induced by water-borne diseases, and, lastly, the fact that just 15 years ago nobody was talking about the urgency of combatting this major cause of mortality.

Recognized for its expertise and knowhow in water, sanitation and hygiene access issues, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has enabled millions of people worldwide over the last 40 years to enjoy improved access to this vital resource, by implementing humane solutions adapted to suit specific local situations.

A fight led at the highest level

Access to water and sanitation is a major element when it comes to boosting the resilience of populations faced with the effects of crises and natural disasters, as well as the impacts of climate change. That’s why, as well as conducting humanitarian missions in some of the world’s most volatile areas for more than 15 years, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has also made it its duty to influence public policies. This is a long-term exercise in conjunction with our French Water Partnership partners, which aims to ensure that the right top-level decisions are made when it comes to combatting the scourge of unsanitary water, in France, Europe and at the United Nations.

Our information and awareness-raising campaigns run every year to mark “World Water Day” on 22 March, including our drinking water petition signed by 200,000 of our fellow citizens, have actively helped to ensure that a water/sanitation objective finally becomes a priority. This became a reality in September 2015 when the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Goals (SDGs), the sixth objective of which aims to provide universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.


2030: only 10 years left to reach the goal !

Faced with this very ambitious challenge, we remain vigilant and continue to ensure that those without access to drinking water have their voices heard by authorities, bodies, networks and national and international summits, such as the World Water Forum, the French Water Partnership, the UN Climate Change Conference, World Water Week, and regular monitoring of 2015 – 2030 SDGs.

With our day to day observations illustrating that the efforts of the international community will doubtless fall short when it comes to achieving this objective, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is more determined than ever to challenge both national and international influences – private and public – so that everyone assumes their responsibilities.

In this respect, the 9th World Water Forum ”Dakar 2021”, the first in sub-Saharan Africa, must be a Forum of rupture: it must be representative of the most vulnerable populations in sub-Saharan Africa and mobilize the actors in the field, humanitarian and development workers, public or private operators, involved in the response to the water and sanitation emergency. This Forum must provide concrete responses and generate an urgent political declaration committing States and the United Nations to achieving the SDGs 2030.

There are only 10 years left to achieve universal access to drinking water, despite the fact that it has been considered a human right by the United Nations since July 2010! The world is thirsty, it is no longer time to wait and no one should be abandoned!”

Our Water Barometer

Every year, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL publishes the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer (WASH survey). Researchers, politicians, doctors, geographers, and NGOs from the north and south are all invited to contribute to this publication, to share their viewpoints and observations, and thereby to create a picture of this vital resource. A benchmark document, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Barometer is designed to alarm and challenge the general public and both national and international decision-makers in terms of the actions to be undertaken at local and global levels.