Declarations and Commitments


Global declarations

Global Goals

Background: The Global Goals were endorsed by consensus at the UN General Assembly in September 2015, and are therefore agreed by all countries. The 17 goals and 169 targets were designed through a global participatory process with the aim to follow on from the work of the Millenium Development Goals  

The Declaration: Goal 6 aims to "Ensure access to water and sanitation for all." Within this there are 8 targets, including WASH related:

  • Target 6.1 is By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking
  • Target 6.2 is By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations

Monitoring: The monitoring of this commitment will be done by the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation which is a United Nations Initiative jointly implemented by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. To monitor the ‘means of implementation’ there are two additional targets:

  • Target 6a) By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
  • Target 6b) Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
Scoring: WASHwatch will begin to score the progress towards the Global Goals once the Joint Monitoring Report is released in June/July 2017. 

Millenium Development Goals

Background: The Millenium Development Goals were eight goals and seventeen targets devised within the UN system with the aim of aiding global development. They were agreed in 2000 with the aim to be reached by 2015. Water access was a sub-target under Goal 7 - Environmental Sustainability. Sanitation access was added in 2002 at the Africasan conference in Johannesburg.

Commitments: The commitments for water and sanitation sit under Goal 7 - 'Ensure Environmental Sustainability."Target 10: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation." The indicators are "proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural"; and "proportion of population with access to improved sanitation, urban and rural."

Monitoring: The monitoring of this commitment was done by the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation which is a United Nations Initiative jointly implemented by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. 

Scoring: Our traffic lights for the MDGs are based on the final Joint Monitoring Programme Report 2015, measuring whether they halved the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Those who achieved this have scored green, those who have reduced the population without access to WASH by 30% plus have scored yellow and those who are more off track than this will score red.

Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

To see how countries are progressing towards achieving the human rights to water and sanitation click here. 

Commitments: On 28 July 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.

Monitoring: While not all aspects of the right to water can or may be realized immediately, general comment No. 15 stresses that States must, at a minimum, show that they are making every possible effort, within available resources, to deliver sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses.

As the most feasible means for implementing the right to water will vary from State to State, general comment No. 15 does not offer set prescriptions. The Covenant simply states that the full realization of the rights contained in it must be achieved through “all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures".

Scoring: WASHwatch is monitoring progress made on the “adoption of legislative measures” with the following two indicators:

  1. Was the right to water and sanitation voted for at the 2010 United Nations General Assembly Resolution?
  2. Is the right to water and sanitation explicitly recognized in national law or policy?


Regional Declarations

AfricaSan (eThekwini and Ngor)

Background: The African sanitation conference has taken place regularly since 2002. The first meeting, in Johannesburg, was where the MDG target on sanitation (under Goal 7) was agreed to be added. The second was in eThekwini in South Africa. Here governments agreed a series of commitments to increase progress on sanitation across the continent. The latest meeting was held in the Ngor region of Dakar, Senegal. It was convened by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), and a new declaration was agreed to supersede the eThekwini commitments.

The declaration: the AfricaSan declarations were framed around the inputs and process or institutional reforms needed to enable more rapid progress. Over time most African countries endorsed the declaration, and since AMCOW took over the convening of the meeting the Ngor declaration has the implicit approval of the African Union.

Monitoring: Indicators were agreed over time for the eThekwini declaration, and were reported on using self-reporting from national focal points, usually facilitated by national stakeholder meetings. These were then peer-reviewed and discussed at regional preparation meetings between the Africasan conventions. Final scores were endorsed by responsible ministries and are therefore ‘official’. For the N’gor monitoring, AMCOW is taking a leadership and coordination role with support of IRC who set out options for these systems and processes. More details can be found in IRC’s paper “Monitoring the N'Gor declaration : building on lessons from eThekwini" 

Scoring: The system of indicators for the eThekwini declaration was devised by the World Bank WSP, on behalf of AMCOW. It uses criteria for the relative progress on the reforms committed, and applies these separately to the rural and urban context. These scores are then combined, weighting each to accord with the urban and rural percentages of the population in each country. (So in a country where 90% of the population is rural, the progress on rural policies will constitute 90% of the score). Similarly, core regional indicators were developed to monitor progress made on the N’gor commitments. IRC’s paper “Monitoring the N'Gor declaration” explains that as of July 2016 “the indicators and scoring criteria have been reviewed through a series of sub-regional consultations led by AMCOW in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg in May and June 2016. The core regional indicators and scoring matrix should be used by countries to develop a data collection form which aligns with the GLAAS questionnaire, SWA indicators and other regional and global monitoring tools. The regional core indicators are calculated by the percentage of countries meeting all criteria and therefore scored green”. More information are available in the paper’s Annex on Core indicators and scoring criteria.


Background: The LATINOSAN conference is held every three years, since 2007.

The declaration: In 2007, the Declaracion de Cali was adopted. LATINOSAN 2010 resulted in the adoption of the Declaracion de Foz Iguazu. The latest and third edition of the LATINOSAN conference was organised in 2013, where government representatives from  Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Maarten, Trinidad & Tobago and Uruguay signed the Panama Declaration which contains 9 commitments dedicated to improve access to water and sanitation services.

Monitoring: A Latin-American and Caribbean Observatory on Sanitation was supposed to monitor progress made on the 9 commitments. 7 indicators were developed to monitor progress: access, policy, institutionalization, planning, budget, monitoring and capacities.

Scoring: The observatory was responsible to publish score cards on the LATINOSAN 2013 website but this website is now down and progress can’t be tracked.

Future development: The fourth edition of the LATINOSAN conference should be held on March 9-11 2016 (Latest conceptual note)


Background: The first South Asian Sanitation Conference was in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2003. The next will be the sixth, returning to Dhaka in January 2016. Subsequent conventions have agreed to national and regional commitments. They also agreed to the formation of an Inter-Country Working Group to lead the convening of Sacosan VI.

Declarations: At the fifth Sacosan meeting in 2013, all the participating countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan) agreed to updated commitments framed around the inputs and process or institutional reforms needed to enable more rapid progress. At the 2016 SACOSAN VI countriees adopted the Dhaka declaration.

Monitoring: Despite many attempts from civil society to build consensus around some “SMART” indicators to monitor the declaration, the ICWG was not able to agree on a methodology. Consequently, the only systematic monitoring of progress is that carried out by civil society groups who organised a collaborative process to assess progress on the commitments, including soliciting feedback from government representatives. No commitment monitoring mechanism was agreed upon to monitor the 2016 SACOSAN VI commitments.

Scoring: The CSO conclusions are shared on WASHwatch, on each signatory country pages. The scores are marked with the ‘WASHwatch’ logo as they are not ‘official’ scores. The process was transparent, with evidence for each score shared alongside the scores themselves.


National declarations

Sanitation and Water for All commitments

Background: The Sanitation and Water for All Partnership (SWA) was created in 2010. It has now over 90 partners, who work together to coordinate high-level action, improve accountability and use scarce resources more effectively.

Declarations: Every two years, at the High Level Meeting, governments and donors table country specific commitments (all available on SWA website). Each country and donor is invited to formulate few, country specific and SMART (Specific, Measurable Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) commitment. 2014 marked the third High Level Meeting, therefore the third round of SWA commitments. 40 countries and 13 donors tabled 383 commitments, most of which were new commitments but some were re-committed from the 2012 High Level Meeting. These latest commitments are the ones presented on WASHwatch currently.

Monitoring: Every year, governments and donors are expected to self-report on the progress made. It is the SWA Secretariat who compiles the data and issues the annual Review of Progress Toward 2014 High Level Meeting Commitments. The progresses reported on WASHwatch currently are from the 2015 progress update (link) round. A new round of progress update is expected in July 2016.

Scoring: The scoring uses a ‘traffic light’ system (Completed, Almost completed, Good progress, Slow Progress, No progress/major barriers). Besides indicating the status of progress, countries and donors are also asked to report on: 1. Milestones of Progress ; 2. Steps Remaining to Fully Achieve commitments; 3. Likelihood to achieve the commitments in time. It is the latest qualitative data that are shared on WASHwatch.

Future developments: It is unsure if countries and donors will formulate new independent commitments at the 2016 High Level Meeting to be held in autumn 2016.  Countries and donors will likely formulate commitments that are strongly linked on the SDGs processes.

For more information on monitoring the sanitation enabling environment, we recommend to read the UNICEF Sanitation monitoring Toolkit.