Water Sanitation Health

Meeting the MDG drinking-water and sanitation target

The urban and rural challenge of the decade

WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 41
Publication date: 2006
Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
ISBN: 9241563257


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have set us on a common course to push back poverty, inequality, hunger and illness. The world has pledged to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Entering the International Decade for Action, Water for Life, 2005–2015, this report looks at the challenge of meeting the MDG target for drinking water and sanitation. Achieving the MDG drinking water and sanitation target poses two major challenges: a rapid pace of urbanization, which requires a major effort even to keep up the current coverage levels; a huge backlog of rural people unserved with basic sanitation and safe drinking water, which calls for an intensive mobilization of resources to reduce the vast coverage gap between urban and rural populations.

Radio interviews

By Ms. Susanne Weber Mosdorf, WHO's Assistant Director-General, Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments
Dr Maria Neira, WHO's Director, Public Health and Environment
Mr Jose Hueb, Sanitary Engineer and co-author of the report, WHO's Public Health and Environment Department
Dr Jamie Bartram, WHO's Coordinator for Public Health and Environment

Press release