Millennium Development Goals
Global water and sanitation data is published by the UN every two years. The 2010 update presents the drinking water target as one of the few success stories of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programme. Aggregate global coverage has advanced from 77% to 87% between 1990 and 2008, very close to the 2015 target of 88%.
However, the inclusion of rich countries in these statistics conceals the less rosy picture in much of the developing world. According to a 2010 UNEP report, only 26 out of 53 countries in Africa are likely to reach the MDG target for drinking water.
The wording of the MDG calls on governments to ‘halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation’.
A source which separates the delivery of drinking water from potential contamination, such as a piped supply or a protected well or spring, is deemed to be ‘safe’. Interpretation of ‘access’ has varied between countries but generally r...
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