HAMILTON, Ontario, Canada, July 1 (IPS) – The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the current vulnerabilities of billions of people worldwide. Marginalized communities in developing countries were excluded from social protection and support.
Long-term economic and social inequality It deepened as the poor got poorer. a A sharp split in the distribution of vaccines She exposed major issues in the global health sector.
Economic stimulus packages up to about 10 trillion dollars Compiled in a matter of months – many More money than governments invested when the financial crisis hit in 2008. However, progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been made greatly slowed down.
Indeed, the pandemic has rendered many of the goals literally unattainable in the time remaining until 2030.
progress towards goal 6 – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all Among the goals that suffer the most. The whole world was already I went off the right track before the pandemic.
An estimated 2 billion and 3.6 billion people still live without access to safely managed water supplies and sanitation, respectively. The funds needed to meet this enormous challenge were estimated in 2016 74-166 billion US dollars annually until 2030.
They were not bred before, and now, most likely, more is needed. Instead, because of the pandemic, water funding is now It is expected to decline.
The cost of achieving the other 6 SDGs – other than universal water supply and sanitation – is not included in the above. With attention now turning beyond the pandemic Economic recovery plans, the question is: Where and how do we get the funds to achieve SDG 6 in the last nine years of the SDG era if we have consistently failed to do so in the first six years?
recently started acceleration frames Create some hope, yet it’s hard to be particularly optimistic.
As we face unresolved global water challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic, while already detrimental in and of itself, may be a precursor to more dangerous events. The world needs to get used to ‘live with epidemics’ and prepare for them, given the risk of infectious diseases now. Compete hand in hand with the risk that we will fail to act on climate change.
New infectious diseases may Increase in the coming decades Not least because of the uncontrolled persistence Human destruction of ecosystems. Coming epidemics could lead to higher mortality rates or hitherto unimaginable human health effects.
In this context, the provision of safe water and sanitation, and ensuring healthy freshwater ecosystems are no longer matters of just basic needs, human rights or dignity. It is a matter of everyone’s survival. Strategic actions are needed now instead of waiting Next pandemic bouts.
Countries will likely have no choice but to confront multiple development challenges simultaneously. However, from the standpoint of preparing for future pandemics, it is imperative to prioritize those challenges.
In the global water sector, there are several elements that may need to be prioritized in the next nine years of the SDGs:
· Ensure universal access to water and sanitation in healthcare facilities. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, roughly Half of health care facilities lack basic water, and three quarters lack sanitation يف, while data on access to basic hygiene services in these facilities is not widely available in all regions.
· Ensuring the water and sanitation access gap in schools. Globally, 31% and 37% of schools lack access to basic water and sanitation services, respectively. Girls who lack access to safe water and sanitation in school as well More likely to give up Their education leads to long-term effects, with losses in their lifetime productivity and earnings 15-30 trillion dollars.
· Providing water to refugees, Who is the countable More than 26 million in 2020 The living conditions of refugees have worsened Untreated water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene led to an increase Possibility of contracting infectious diseases – Now and in the future.
· Improving water and health services for the urban poor. One in four of the world’s urban dwellers live in informal settlements where social distancing, regular hand washing, and more epidemic management practices Useless. Short-term responses, including Suspension of water bills, And the Water trucks and water supply points, was far from sufficient to compensate for the access gap in these areas.
There is a lot in common between the above challenges. They are all frankly human-centered and targeting the most vulnerable groups; Hence they are necessary to deal with if we are serious about not leaving anyone behind. And all of them, if treated, will mitigate the impact of future epidemics.
They all contribute to the 6 Sustainable Development Goals related to universal water supply and sanitation. They all have strong links with other important SDGs, for example you cannot eliminate a source of refugees without ensuring peace, political stability and halting environmental degradation.
All are included in the current Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving the above-mentioned milestones may not be enough to achieve universal access to water and sanitation, but they will still be unprecedented achievements in recent history.
Stopping the degradation of freshwater ecosystems – to mitigate the potential for future epidemics – also needs to be much stronger. Although some Related operations On the way, it may turn out to be too long to be effective.
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that it may be right to reconsider and clarify priorities in the ongoing SDG efforts. With nearly 170 goals in place, the SDG framework, while comprehensive, is probably too ambitious for a rather short period of time.
And it is not only about the periodic evaluation of the progress of the SDGs, but also about adjusting the goals; Especially when many of the original elements are unclear and when major new factors such as pandemics have recently reshaped the world. There are things that can no longer wait. Fixing at least some of the world’s chronic water problems is one of them.
Baguio clouds research associate, Manzoor Qadir He is the assistant director, and Vladimir Smakhtin He is the Director of the United Nations University Canada Institute of Water, Environment and Health, which is supported by the Government of Canada and hosted by McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. The institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021.
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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service