The future of water: Universal access until 2030 must become political priority


21-03-2014 Cologne

Finally, he doesn’t have to drink the water from the creek behind the village anymore. (photo: Malteser International)


Every day in 2013, nearly 1,000 people gained access to clean water, thanks to Malteser International water projects. Yet, 768 million people worldwide remain without access to an improved source of drinking water. On World Water Day 2014 – the last before the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015 – Malteser International is calling on political leaders to work toward ensuring equal access to water for all population groups. 

The new 2030 targets, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals, should have an explicit focus on reducing inequalities by targeting poor and otherwise disadvantaged groups, says Ingo Radtke, Malteser International’s Secretary General. “When it comes to access to clean water, there’s still a large gap between different parts of the population, and this gap coincides with aspects such as gender, age, disability, and extreme poverty,” he says.

Water is also a deciding factor when it comes to other important development goals, such as reducing malnutrition. “You can’t solve the hunger problem without solving the problem of dirty water,” Radtke says. “Dirty water is responsible for millions of diarrhea, cholera and worm infections every year, and these water-related diseases are responsible for half of all malnutrition cases.” Children are especially affected by this problem: every day, 3,600 children under five die of water-related diseases – that is the second most common cause of death of children in this age group worldwide.

Malteser International and the German WASH Network <>  support UN Water’s call for a dedicated water and sanitation goal by 2030. According to the proposed goal, governments and civil society should seek “to eliminate open defecation; to achieve universal access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for households, schools and health facilities; to halve the proportion of the population without access at home to safely managed drinking water and sanitation services; and to progressively eliminate inequalities in access.”

Malteser International currently runs water projects in 12 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Examples of projects include the rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines <> , providing water, sanitation and hygiene in schools in Cambodia <> , and a rainwater harvesting project in drought-prone northern Kenya <;Guid=84587&amp;continent=3&amp;country=2> .
About Malteser International:
Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta. With over 100 projects annually in some 25 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas, Malteser International has been standing by those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, helping them lead a healthy life with dignity – without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles build the foundation of its work.