State of the world’s sanitation: An urgent call to transform sanitation for better health, environments, economies and societies


Safe sanitation is one of the foundations of a healthy, comfortable and dignified life. Yet, the reality for billions of people is one of polluted environments, in which one or many of the links in the chain that makes up safe sanitation – toilets, waste treatment, disposal and safe re-use – is missing or out-of-reach. Recognizing this, the global community is committed to achieving universal access to sanitation and hygiene by 2030, paying special attention to the needs of women, girls, and those in vulnerable situations, and improving water quality and safe wastewater re-use. 

This report developed by UNICEF and WHO presents the state of sanitation in the world today and is intended to increase awareness of progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal targets for sanitation, and to identify opportunities to meet the challenges that remain. In this report, you can learn about:

  • the consequences of poor sanitation including the health impacts, economic costs resulting from sickness and death, and social impacts on dignity, poverty, disability, safety, gender, and education
  • the progress that has been made towards universal access to sanitation including sanitation in households, schools, healthcare facilities, and forcibly displaced persons
  • the status of pollicy and finance for sanitation

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