More than a billion people around the world do not have access to clean water and sanitation, with more than 40 per cent of the global population affected by water scarcity. More than a billion people live in river basins where more water is used than is recharged. And floods and other water-related disasters occur more and more.
For the Netherlands improved water management is a priority in our development aid policy. By means of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) the Netherlands is focusing on improved watershed management, safe deltas and efficient use of water in agriculture. The Netherlands' target to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) for Water and Sanitation by 2030 is to provide 30 million people with sustainable access to safe water and 50 million people with sustainable access to improved sanitation.
The Sustainable management of water resources and access to safe water and sanitation are essential for unlocking economic growth and productivity, and provides significant leverage for existing investments in health and education. The Dutch Government's policy on WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is linked to various other SDGs on ending extreme poverty and hunger, improving health and making human settlements more resilient. Water is thus an important prerequisite of achieving all other SDGs.
Through this policy the Netherlands aims to change the lives of those still unserved in a sustainable and equitable manner. Indirectly, Dutch funding will help provide access and improved service delivery to a much greater number of people. It will do so by driving change in the sector through better governance; mobilization of domestic resources (financial and human) in target countries; addressing key human rights principles like equality; through transparency, participation and accountability; stimulating sustainability and innovation; and supporting learning at all levels.
In recent decades, water-related disasters have affected increasing numbers of people, animals and businesses worldwide. Dutch Water Authorities, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management have therefore joined forces in a programme known as the ‘Blue Deal’. Its goal is to help 20 million people in 40 catchment areas around the world gain access to clean, sufficient and safe water by the end of 2030. And with that, contributing to SDG 6.
The Blue Deal programme offers long-term collaboration with regional and national governments in finding and developing solutions to improve water management. It focuses on providing support, creating opportunities for people and businesses, and the exchange of knowledge and experience in water management and water governance with other countries.