Assessing Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation in Bulgaria
The recognition of access to water and to sanitation as human rights in 2010 confirmed the obligation of governments to ensure that water and sanitation services are available, physically accessible, of good quality and safe, acceptable in terms of dignity and privacy and affordable for all without discrimination.
Equity considerations are very strong in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, the Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation set ambitious targets in this respect:
In the pan-European region, the UNECE 1 - WHO/Europe 2 Protocol on Water and Health provides a sound framework for translating into practice the human rights to water and sanitation and for achieving SDG6. The Protocol requires its Parties to ensuring access to water and sanitation for everyone, and specifically to promoting equitable access to water and sanitation “for all members of the population, especially those who suffer a disadvantage or social exclusion”. Since June 1999, Bulgaria is a signatory to UNECE 3 -WHO/Europe 4 Protocol on Water and Health, but has not ratified it yet.
Three critical factors in ensuring equitable access to water and sanitation are: reducing geographical disparities; overcoming the barriers faced by vulnerable and marginalized groups; and addressing affordability concerns, as detailed in the publication No one left behind: Good practices to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation in the pan-European region5 (UNECE, WHO/Europe, 2012).
The Equitable Access Score-card 6, developed under the Protocol on Water and Health, is an analytical tool that can help Governments and other stakeholders to establish a baseline measure of the equity of access to water and sanitation through a process of self-assessment, identify related priorities and discuss further actions to be taken.
The Guidance Note on the Development of Action Plans to Ensure Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation 7, adopted by Parties to the Protocol in November 2016, aims to help countries in translating the priorities identified through the self-assessment into actions to reduce inequities in access to water and sanitation services.
In April 2017, the Ministry of Health decided to collaborate with Earth Forever Foundation for the implementation of the project to improve equitable access to safe drinking water, in accordance with its priority to protect human health.
Objectives of the project
Phase 1 - Conduct a self-assessment of the situation of equitable access to water and sanitation
Phase 2 - Develop an Action Plan to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation
The development of the Equitable access action plan will be guided by the Guidance Note on the Development of Action Plans to Ensure Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation
1 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
2 Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization
3 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
4 Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization