WASGA regional report entitled “Sanitation, Drinking-water and Health in Pacific Island Countries: 2015 update and future outlook” has found that almost 70% of people living in the Pacific are without access to improved sanitation, and almost 50% lack access to improved drinking water supplies.

Heads of agencies were quick to share their sentiments when the report was launched.  Dr Liu Yunguo, WHO Representative for the South Pacific based in Suva said “We are very pleased to launch this milestone report in collaboration with other UN agencies and the Pacific Community.”

“The report is a highly significant contribution to guide the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation in the Pacific,” said Dr Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative.

“The report sheds light on the unique and challenging situation facing many Pacific people who don’t have access to safe water and sanitation which hadn’t been thoroughly analysed or discussed in global reports on the Millennium Development Goals,” said Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General of the Pacific Community.

“The report takes an unprecedented approach. Where possible it provides disaggregated analysis of urban and rural access to Water and Sanitation; it further highlights the challenge of providing such services in urban informal settlements and peri-urban areas” said Mr. Yoshinobu Fukasawa, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, UN-Habitat.

This report reviews the status and challenges of sanitation, drinking water and hygiene in Pacific Island countries. Data in the report shows a not-so-positive outlook on the situation and trends of water and sanitation in the Pacific. Mr Jose Hueb, the lead author of the report and WHO consultant said “Improvements in WASH were observed in the urban areas, leaving rural areas behind. The gaps between the urban and rural areas are even greater in 2015 than in 1990.”

The report also notes that the Pacific region’s MDG sanitation access target of 65% and drinking water access target of 73% by 2015 were not reached. Regional sanitation coverage was only 31% in 2015, while the drinking water target was only 53%. READ MORE