Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced new commitments to global water security, sanitation and hygiene in support of the United States Global Water Strategy, 2022-2027, and the White House Action Plan on Global Water Security. These are a part of the commitment of up to $49 billion in investments at home and around the world to support equitable access to climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure and services, announced today by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
The announcements were made at the UN Water Conference, a historic gathering of Member States to the United Nations, civil society, and private sector stakeholders from around the world.
More than two billion people still live without access to safe water, four billion live without safe sanitation, and water stress (droughts, floods, and pollution) increasingly affects the world’s most marginalized people, particularly women. Disasters – including those exacerbated by climate change – are overwhelmingly water-related and are becoming more frequent and intense, in turn pushing people into a vicious cycle of poverty, food insecurity, and vulnerability.
To respond, USAID announced new funding and programs, including:
- At the World Water Forum in 2022, the United States announced a three-year, $1.2 billion investment of foreign assistance for water security and sanitation, USAID's first-ever multi-year commitment to the sector. For the UN Water Conference, USAID will work with Congress to allocate more than $700 million of these funds in support of its 22 High-Priority Country Plans under the U.S. Global Water Strategy. These funds will support USAID field Missions in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa to support local solutions to water resources management, drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, and climate change challenges over the next three years. At least 50 percent of those reached with this investment will be women and girls, and will include many people who have never before had access to these basic services due to a range of local vulnerabilities.
- USAID launched a new global investment to improve water security, sanitation and hygiene, and promote stability across humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development contexts. This includes a focus on those who are most vulnerable in times of fragility and conflict, such as through an increased risk of gender-based violence.
- USAID announced a new global investment to improve collection and use of water and sanitation data that enables decision-making worldwide.
- Building on previous USAID investments of $5.4 million in innovative partnerships in Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, and Zambia to advance knowledge on the intersections between menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) and sexual and reproductive health, education, and women’s economic security, USAID will continue to provide global leadership on holistic approaches to MHH. These will integrate access to safe latrines with social and behavior change, health information, and menstrual hygiene products to promote menstrual equity and research that advance both SDG 5 and SDG 6.
- In collaboration with the European Union, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, USAID is launching a new effort under the Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge to advance Sustainable Climate-Resilient Water Modelling and Monitoring in Agriculture to protect vulnerable populations, with an initial commitment of $500,000 from USAID.
USAID is one of the world’s leading donors to water security, sanitation and hygiene, investing an average of US $1 billion per year in development and humanitarian contexts. Since 2008, USAID has reached 65 million people with access to safe drinking water, and more than 50 million people with access to improved sanitation.
The primary recipients of water, sanitation and hygiene development assistance are 22 high-priority countries, 16 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, which are designated based upon criteria outlined in the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014. These are: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.