Basic sanitation is a fundamental human right, but 2.4 billion people have no sanitation facilities or latrines—that’s one in every three people!

Lack of sanitation creates serious health risks, including endemic diarrhea. Open defecation remains a major contributor to the fatal spread of diarrheal disease.1

A safe place to answer "nature’s call” should be  available to everyone. In fact, the UN Human Rights Council recognizes the right to water and sanitation as legally binding in international law. But worldwide, 2.4 billion people have no appropriate sanitation facilities or latrines.1

Despite progress, the world failed to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal to halve the number of people without access to appropriate sanitation by 2015. We are on the right track—1.8 billion more people have sanitation today than 20 years ago2—but we need to accelerate our advances. The 2015 Sustainable Development Goal builds on this momentum, targeting access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and an end to open defecation by 2030, with special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.3

PATH's strategic approach addresses sanitation access and sustainability in four key areas: market approaches, technology and products, financing, and an overall sanitation framework with focus on the end-user. 

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1 Unicef/WHO. Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment.  New York: Unicef and WHO;2015.

2 Unicef/WHO. Progress on drinking water and sanitation, 2012 update. New York: Unicef and WHO;2012.

3 United Nations. Global Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation web page. Available at: (Accessed November 12, 2015.)

Photo: PATH/Gareth Bentley