New index reveals countries leading in improving water, sanitation for citizens

According to a new WaSH Performance Index developed by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, El Salvador, Niger and Pakistan are performing better in improving water and sanitation for their citizens than Russia and Brazil.

May 11, 2015 -- According to a new WaSH Performance Index developed by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health, the countries of El Salvador, Niger and Pakistan are performing better in improving water and sanitation for their citizens than larger nations such as Russia and Brazil.

The new index -- which was released Friday, May 8, during a live webcast -- shows which countries serve as leaders in improving access to water and sanitation for their citizens. Further, Sub-Saharan African countries including Mali, South Africa and Ethiopia are also among the top performers worldwide in spite of modest resources.

The WaSH Performance Index evaluates country performance in improving access to water and sanitation and in eroding inequalities in access. High-performing countries for 2015 are those that achieved significant improvement in recent years compared to their peers. These include El Salvador, Niger, Egypt, Maldives, and Pakistan. Low-performing countries are those that showed stagnation or decline in recent years compared to their peers, including the Dominican Republic, the Gambia, Ghana, Samoa, and Timor-Leste.

Among the most populated countries in the world, Pakistan, China and Nigeria were top performers (ranked 5, 11 and 18 respectively). Conversely, Russia, the Philippines and India were bottom performers (ranked 72, 83 and 92). India's ranking as a bottom-performer predates the recent launch of the "Clean India Mission" by Prime Minister Modi.

The Index is the first measure to compare countries according to the human rights principle of "progressive realization" -- the obligation of every country to take appropriate measures towards the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum of their available resources. Likewise, it compares countries of all sizes and income levels. By comparing how they are improving water and sanitation compared to best-in-class countries at similar levels of development, the Index provides a fair comparison of progress on them.

Using this method, the report revealed that a country's Gross Domestic Product did not determine performance in improving water and sanitation for its citizens. Jamie Bartram, director of The Water Institute at UNC and co-author of the report, says that gives him a great deal of optimism.

See also: "World Water Day 2015: New rankings reveal highest-performing global water, sanitation & hygiene nonprofits"

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