Safe, affordable, and accessible water and sanitation are prerequisites for people to live healthy, dignified, and productive lives. In 2010, the United Nations formally recognized the right of all human beings to have sufficient, safe, affordable, and accessible water and sanitation. But today, 2.1 billion people still lack safe drinking water and 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services.
The COVID-19 pandemic is shining a spotlight on the weaknesses of social, economic, and health safety nets we’ve long taken for granted, including our water system. Hand washing is one of the most important actions we can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but more than three billion people – over 40% of the global population – do not have reliable access to safe water and soap in their homes.
The Pacific Institute focuses on expanding universal access to water and sanitation, highlighting populations in the United States and abroad who lack these basic services. In the United States, our work has focused on underserved populations in California. Internationally, we work with the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate and with international non-governmental groups to tackle these needs. As Co-Secretariat of the CEO Water Mandate, we provide a platform for businesses to support hygiene and sanitation services in their supply chains and in the communities they operate in, towards the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 — universal access to these basic needs by 2030.