Interlinkages between sanitation and other SDGs

Sanitation is a basic human need that is critical to ensuring good health and well-being for all. It is also a fundamental requirement for the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The interlinkages between sanitation and other SDGs are significant, and understanding these relationships is essential to the achievement of the SDGs.

The SDG 6 aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The goal includes six targets that give a normative framework and direction for development efforts in water and sanitation. As interventions in water and sanitation contribute to improvements towards other goals like health, poverty, food security, it makes sense using the water and sanitation system of a region as an entry point to tackling the 2030 Agenda. Likewise, working on other goals like education and governance can leverage interventions in water and sanitation. (Access to Water and Sanitation – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs))

The interlinkages between the SDG targets related to governance, and policy setting and coherence (target 16.6, target 16.7 and target 17.14), and community involvement in management of water resources (target 6.b and target 1.b) while using Integrated Water Resources Management principles (target 6.5) with overall benefits for poverty reduction (target 1.2) are presented in what can be considered as the “software” of the water resources management system. On the other hand, the interlinkages between SDG targets related to provision of access to, and supply of clean water (target 6.1, target 9.4, target 9.a), and proper wastewater disposal and management (target 6.2) in urban (target 11.6) and rural environment with critical importance for human health (target 3.2 and target 3.3) are described in what is considered the “hardware” of the water resources management system. Target 6.3 on improving water quality by reducing pollution and untreated wastewater, eliminating dumping, minimising the release of hazardous chemicals and materials is one of the most important leverage points in this system’s model of interlinkages. The model also shows that utilising wastewater (target 6.3) for energy generation (target 7.1) through innovation (target 9.b), contributes to creation of new decent jobs (target 8.5) and economic growth in general (SDG 8). Another significant impact is on sanitation and hygiene (target 6.2) and on using waste waters for food production (target 2.4 and target 12.4) in peri-urban areas. (Visualisation map of the interlinkages between SDG 6 and the other SDGs*)

Examples of synergies include increasing access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) [6.1, 6.2] in homes, healthcare facilities, schools and workplaces, complemented by wastewater treatment [6.3], as a way to reduce risk of water-borne disease [3.1–3.3, 3.9] and malnutrition [2.2]; support education [4.1–4.5] and a productive workforce [8.5, 8.8]; and address poverty [1.1, 1.2, 1.4], gender inequality [5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5] and other inequality [10.1–10.3]. (Water and sanitation interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)

In conclusion, sanitation is a critical component of sustainable development and is linked to several SDGs. Improving sanitation can contribute to improved health outcomes, increased economic productivity, and reduced environmental impacts. Understanding the interlinkages between sanitation and other SDGs is essential for achieving the SDGs’ overarching goal of sustainable development. Hence by investing in sanitation infrastructure and services, governments and other stakeholders can help to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future for all.

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