Water in developing countries
Clean, accessible water is critical to human health, a healthy environment, poverty reduction, a sustainable economy, and peace and security. Yet over 40% of the global population does not have access to sufficient clean water. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, according to UN-Water. The lack of water poses a major threat to several sectors, including food security. Agriculture uses about 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater.
Developing countries are most affected by water shortages, flooding and poor water quality. Up to 80% of illnesses in the developing world are linked to inadequate water and sanitation. In many countries, pollution or rising sea levels are contaminating trusted water sources. Water stress and lack of sanitation disproportionately affect women and girls. These factors can alter their health, safety and opportunity to engage in economic activities. Women and girls are often the primary managers of natural resources, particularly for household use and small-scale agriculture. They are key change agents in sustainable water management practices.
Global efforts to address water issues
Together, countries are working toward the goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Water targets are included across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 6 specifically aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, setting out the following objectives for joint action:
- improve the management and quality of water resources, involving communities and including women and girls
- ensure that people have access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene
- protect and restore water-related ecosystems
Our support for water initiatives in developing countries
Water directly affects many issues critical to promoting sustainable development, including the economy, agriculture, health, trade, energy, and peace and security. As part of its international assistance, Canada supports sustainable water resources management and governance in developing countries. It aids efforts to increase access to safe water and adequate sanitation, including menstrual hygiene. Canada’s water programming contributes to health, education, food security and economic growth outcomes for the poorest and most vulnerable. This programming particularly helps women and girls.
Here are just a few examples of water initiatives being supported by Canada.
- Between 2005 and 2017, Canada provided $40 million to the African Water Facility. This funding supports water infrastructure investments in fragile and post-conflict countries
- Ghana’s Enhanced WASH in Schools and Communities program gives schools and children access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene services ($17.9 million, 2011 to 2018)
- The Food Security Innovation and Mobilization initiative in Peru, Bolivia and Burkina Faso enhances access to groundwater resources ($17 million, 2015 to 2020). It does this through the use of innovative technologies such as the extraction of water through hand pumps and hydroponic greenhouse technology. This improves food security and reduces water use in the dry season
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