Thank you for contacting me about water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in developing countries and for inviting me to the AGM of the APPG for WASH.
Safe water and adequate sanitation are basic human needs. It is a regrettable fact that for so many on our planet these needs remain unmet, particularly in developing and conflict-affected states.
I am sure you will welcome that improving access to WASH services, including in healthcare facilities, is a global health priority for the FCDO. It forms a core part of the UK's Ending Preventable Deaths of mothers, babies and children strategy, published in December 2021, and is critical to the FCDO's wider global health objectives.
I am proud of the UK's action on promoting safe water, sanitation and hygiene - or UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. Indeed, HM Government (HMG) pledged to provide 60 million people with improved water and sanitation between 2015 and 2020, and exceeded this target in August 2020, helping 62.6 million people access clean water and sanitation, of which 26.2 million were based in fragile states.
To deliver on such an ambitious target, HMG developed substantial bilateral WASH programmes and entered into a £57.3 million partnership with UNICEF to provide sustainable WASH services to 3.8 million people in ten countries, through the Sanitation, Water and Hygiene for the Rural Poor programme (2017-2022). The UK is now prioritising spend on hand hygiene as part of our approach to tackling Covid-19; strengthening the climate resilience of WASH services; and reinforcing accountability for the delivery of WASH services.
The UK is also continuing to promote the importance of WASH through our membership of the "WASH In Healthcare Facilities" international taskforce, through bilateral programming such as our innovative hand hygiene partnership with Unilever, and through core multilateral funding, including to the World Bank and the World Health Organisation. This includes funding to the WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, which tracks progress against water and sanitation global targets and supporting the Global Water Partnership to promote climate resilient WASH.
Although I was unable to attend the event and unable to join the APPG due to existing commitments, I am confident that HMG remains committed to improving access to WASH services globally.