The objective of the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) is to monitor the inputs required to extend and sustain water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems and services. This includes the components of the “enabling environment”: documenting government policy and institutional frameworks; the volume, sources and targeting of investment; the sufficiency of human resources; priorities and gaps with respect to external assistance; and the influence of these factors on performance.
A more challenging secondary goal is to analyse the factors associated with progress, or lack thereof, in order to identify drivers and bottlenecks, to identify knowledge gaps, to assess strengths and weaknesses, to identify challenges, priorities and successes, and to facilitate benchmarking across countries.
This second1 UN-Water GLAAS report presents data received from 74 developing countries, covering all the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) regions, and from 24 external support agencies (ESAs), representing approximately 90% of official development assistance (ODA) for sanitation and drinking-water.
There have been remarkable gains in WASH. The 2012 progress report of the World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) announced that the MDG target for drinking-water was met in 2010: the proportion of people without access to improved drinkingwater sources had been more than halved (from 24% to 11%) since 1990. However, the progress report also noted that the benefits are very unevenly distributed.
For example, only limited progress is evident in the increase of access to drinking-water among the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa or to sanitation among the poorest in South Asia. More than three quarters of those who lack access to safe drinkingwater and basic sanitation live in rural areas.
As this report shows, in many countries, policies and programmes have far too little emphasis on ensuring
adequate financial and human resources to both sustain the existing infrastructure and expand access to sanitation, drinking-water and hygiene services. The danger of slippage against the MDG target is a real one.
The report:
• warns of a significant risk of slippage on the gains made in extending WASH services unless more attention is given to maintaining those services and assets;
• acknowledges that despite the severe financial crisis faced by many high-income countries, aid for sanitation and drinking-water continues to rise, while targeting to basic MDG-type services is improving;
• shows that some countries are reporting good progress towards national WASH targets, but highlights that for the majority of countries, human and financial resource constraints, especially for sanitation, are significantly impeding progress.
The focus on enhancing accountability is increasingly strong and is a key component of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership, to which many GLAAS respondents belong. Accountability is being further enhanced by the increased attention paid to the Human Right to Water and Sanitation since the recognition of this right by the United Nations (UN).

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