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HTML Document Water and Millennium Development Goals

Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

Released 06/04/2006

In September 2000, the world’s leaders gathered at the UN Millennium Summit, and 147 heads-of-state and governments and 189 nations in total adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 2000. See the Declaration.

 The 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set 18 clear numerical time-bound targets for making concrete progress before 2015, by tackling the most pressing issues faced by developing countries. See goals and targets


Target 10, specifically dedicated to water and sanitation, is part of Goal 7, "Ensure environmental sustainability". The content is the following:

"Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation."


Improving water resources development and management is a critical factor for meeting the MDG’s, not only specifically target 10, but also the broader goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating major disease, and improving environmental sustainability. Therefore, efforts to achieve the MDG’s must involve planning and action in water resources development, management and use, both in order to meet the MDG’s Target 10 and to meet the MDG’s as a whole.


The UN Millenium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation published a report identifying what it would take to achieve Target 10 and addressing the role of water management and development in meeting the MDGs as a whole. Read this report        

The Millennium Development Goals and Targets are being recommended as voluntary minimum targets for all countries. They are interrelated and should be seen as a whole. Indicators (48) have been set up to monitor progress towards the achievement of these goals and targets. See indicators.

The indicators related to water and sanitation are:

-         Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural (UNICEF-WHO)

-         Proportion of population with access to improved sanitation, urban and rural (UNICEF-WHO)

Intermediate milestones for 2005 and 2010 have been set at both national and global levels (as well as sub-national levels where appropriate). Progress at both levels should be monitored and evaluated in terms of these intermediate milestones.

Reference: World Water Council