About 845 million people still need access to drinking water to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
In fact, a new global research showed that seven countries still provide less than half of their population with access to basic drinking water, while another 40 countries have no basic sanitation services for at least 50% of citizens.
The study, entitled Forward-Thinking Countries – which assessed 146 countries on their progress regarding key social, environmental, and economic indicators – revealed that only four countries currently provide their entire population with access to basic drinking water and basic sanitation: New Zealand, Israel, Qatar,and Singapore.
Hence, the UN has called for universal and equal access to safe and affordable drinking services by 2030, to reduce the preventable health risks caused by contaminated or polluted water. These risks include infectious diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever.
Analysis reveals that the countries with the poorest water provisions experience a higher number of deaths from infectious diseases compared to countries with better provisions.
In countries where less than 70% of people have access to basic drinking water, an average of 486 deaths per 100,000 people were reported in 2018, compared to just 88.3 deaths per 100,000 people from countries with better drinking water services.
Additionally, of the 146 countries with water provision data available, the Central African Republic experienced the most deaths from infectious diseases in 2018, with 1,209.3 reported per 100,000 people. Just 54% of the population has access to at least basic drinking water, and 25% has access to basic sanitation facilities.
Countries with poor water provisions also experience a higher infant mortality rate. Countries where less than 70% of the population have access to basic drinking water reported 486 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to just 88.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in other locations.
Countries with the poorest water provisions:
Access to at Least Basic Drinking Water (% of Population)
Access to at Least Basic Sanitation Facilities (% of Population)
% of Population with Access to Basic Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation
Besides assessing water provision and sanitation facilities, Forward-Thinking Countries also analyses reports from the UN, the Global Gender Gap Report, UNICEF, and non-governmental organisations to reveal which countries have made the most progress towards global equality over the past five years.
The analysis shows that Norway is the most progressive country, having closed 83.5% of its gender gap and scoring 90.26 points out of 100 on the Social Progress Index. This measures indicators that feed into basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity.
When compared to the target boundaries for key issues, the world under-performs in many aspects of social progress relative to economic resources. The largest area of under-performance is water and sanitation, which has only seen minor improvement (+1.61 points) over the past five years.