Water

Vital humanitarian work

Despite the fact that access to drinking water and sanitation has been recognized as a human right since 2010, almost 3.5 billion people today still have no choice but to drink water that is dangerous to their health. 2.4 billion are without latrines, i.e. 40% of the global population. As a result, 2.6 million people die 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.

UNSANITARY WATER: A SILENT, OVERLOOKED SCOURGE

2,6
million people die every year
from diseases related to water and unsanitary conditions
50%
of the world’s population
is still without access to clean water
2,4
billion
people lack adequate sanitation
5
people
die every minute from the consequences of drinking unclean water
63%
of the world’s population
will live under conditions of water stress
2,6 million people die every year
from diseases related to water and unsanitary conditions
50% of the world’s population
is still without access to clean water
2,4 billion
people lack adequate sanitation
5 people
die every minute from the consequences of drinking unclean water
63% of the world’s population
will live under conditions of 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 die each year of diseases relating to water and an unsanitary environment. That’s 5 deaths every minute. Among them, 1.5 million are under the age of 5.

In 2016, 2.4 billion people still lacked adequate sanitation. 1 billion of these are still defecating in the open. “Almost 375,000 tons of fecal matter are deposited in the natural environment. One single gramme 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 would prevent 577,000 deaths every year.

 

STATE WATER POVERTY INDEX

map state water poverty index

OUR FIGHT: DRINKING WATER FOR EVERYONE

In humanitarian crises, access to drinking water and sanitation is vital for populations. The cause and effect relationship between unsafe water and mortality, particularly among children, states the obvious. 10 years ago, nobody talked about it.
Alain Boinet, founder of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL

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 10 years ago nobody was talking about the urgency of combatting this major cause of mortality.

Recognized for its expertise and knowhow in water, hygiene and sanitation access issues, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has enabled millions of people worldwide over the last 35 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 10 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: The water objective will not have been achieved!

Faced with a very ambitious challenge, we will 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.

So that we can achieve our target of universal access to water and sanitation by 2030, we need quantifiable indicators, a monitoring mechanism, adequate funding to finance our commitments, strong political will and national courses of action. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL remains extremely concerned about a large number of countries, particularly the poorest ones, and often the most devastated by extreme climatic events such as droughts, floods and earthquakes. The sustainable development goals aren‘t restrictive; there’s no commitment to funding, and the Official Development Assistance ($140b p.a.) will not be sufficient to cover the implementation of the SDGs estimated at between $2,000 billion and $3,000 billion.
Alain Boinet, founder of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL

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.