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845 million people still need access to #DrinkingWater to meet 2030 #UN goal

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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, new research shows.

It comes to light after a new study, entitled Forward-Thinking Countries, reveals the most and least progressive nations based on key social, environmental and economic indicators. 

The proportion of the global population using safe drinking water services was reported to be 71% in 2017, with an additional 19% using basic services. This means that 785 million people still lacked access to even basic drinking water according to the latest available figures. 

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Out of the 146 assessed countries, just four provide 100% of the population with access to at least basic drinking water and basic sanitation: New Zealand, Israel, Qatar and Singapore.

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. 

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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. 

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: 

Country

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

Eritrea

19.29

11.26

2.17

Ethiopia

39.12

7.08

2.77

Chad

42.54

9.55

4.06

Madagascar

50.62

9.69

4.91

Niger

45.8

12.9

5.93

As well as assessing water provision and sanitation facilities, Forward-Thinking Countries analyses reports from the United Nations, 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 wellbeing and opportunity. 

When compared to the target boundaries for key issues, the world underperforms 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. 

The research is published ahead of World Water Week, which is organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute and starts on 25th August. The event aims to address global water issues such as provision, pollution and sanitation, and related international development goals. 

The results of the research.

European Commission

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €231 million in pre-financing to Slovenia

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The European Commission has disbursed €231 million to Slovenia in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's grant allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €2.5 billion in total, consisting of €1.8bn in grants and €705m in loans, over the lifetime of its plan. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80 billion in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU.

The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will provide €800bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states. The Slovenian plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Cyprus

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus

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The European Commission has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €1.2 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan, with €1 billion provided in grants and €200m in loans. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states.

The Cypriot plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Belgium

EU Cohesion policy: Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy receive €373 million to support health and social services, SMEs and social inclusion

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The Commission has granted €373 million to five European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) operational programmes (OPs) in Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy to help the countries with coronavirus emergency response and repair in the framework of REACT-EU. In Belgium, the modification of the Wallonia OP will make available an additional €64.8m for the acquisition of medical equipment for health services and innovation.

The funds will support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in developing e-commerce, cybersecurity, websites and online stores, as well as the regional green economy through energy efficiency, protection of the environment, development of smart cities and low-carbon public infrastructures. In Germany, in the Federal State of Hessen, €55.4m will support health-related research infrastructure, diagnostic capacity and innovation in universities and other research institutions as well as research, development and innovation investments in the fields of climate and sustainable development. This amendment will also provide support to SMEs and funds for start-ups through an investment fund.

In Sachsen-Anhalt, €75.7m will facilitate cooperation of SMEs and institutions in research, development and innovation, and provide investments and working capital for micro-enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis. Moreover, the funds will allow investments in the energy efficiency of enterprises, support digital innovation in SMEs and acquiring digital equipment for schools and cultural institutions. In Italy, the national OP ‘Social Inclusion' will receive €90m to promote the social integration of people experiencing severe material deprivation, homelessness or extreme marginalisation, through ‘Housing First' services that combine the provision of immediate housing with enabling social and employment services.

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In Spain, €87m will be added to the ESF OP for Castilla y León to support the self-employed and workers who had their contracts suspended or reduced due to the crisis. The money will also help hard-hit companies avoid layoffs, especially in the tourism sector. Finally, the funds are needed to allow essential social services to continue in a safe way and to ensure educational continuity throughout the pandemic by hiring additional staff.

REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6bn additional funding (in current prices) to Cohesion policy programmes over the course of 2021 and 2022. Measures focus on supporting labour market resilience, jobs, SMEs and low-income families, as well as setting future-proof foundations for the green and digital transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery.

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