World Water Day 2018

Access to water is a human right

The facts are sobering: Two billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water, and more than 2.5 billion are not able to use sanitary facilities. World Water Day on 22 March draws attention to these serious shortcomings. Caritas is committed to promoting universal and equitable access to water and hygiene for all. 


‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ – is the wording of the sixth Sustainable Development Goal of the UN 2030 Agenda. Although considerable progress has been made in the last decade in water supplies, more than 2 billion people still do not have access to clean drinking water. Approximately 40 per cent of the world’s population live in regions impacted by water scarcity. Furthermore, more than 2.5 billion people have no access to adequate sanitation. Women and girls are especially disadvantaged.

At the centre of this global water crisis are power structures, poverty and inequality. It is the poorest, most marginalised people who are most frequently excluded from access to water and sanitation. What is particularly serious and unacceptable is that it is mainly developing countries that are affected by water scarcity, mostly as a direct consequence of climate change – while the water consumption of industrialised countries and emerging economies is steadily increasing.

Access to water and basic sanitation is a human right. ‘Water, sanitation and hygiene’ is therefore one of Caritas Switzerland’s key fields of activity. We have implemented water projects worldwide since the early 1980s. Our main priorities are:

  • access to safe drinking water,
  • appropriate basic sanitation and improved hygiene practice, and  
  • access to water for food production.

Caritas can count on the support of numerous partners, including Swiss Solidarity, the Clean Water Foundation of Georg Fischer AG, AGUASAN, the Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium, the Water Integrity Network and the Swiss Water Partnership.

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