Global Appeal 2024

Clean water, sanitation and hygiene

Outcome Area 12

Women fetching water at a tap
Congolese refugee Rachel Nikuze (left) and her neighbours Marcelina Tumusifu and Charlotte Shimiyimana collect water at a water point in Rubondo, in Nakivale refugee settlement, Uganda. As a water user committee member, she helps to protect and care for the community water source.
© UNHCR/Esther Ruth Mbabazi
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Global needs in 2024

SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation

Access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is increasingly dire for forcibly displaced and stateless people, as well as the communities that host them, and at odds with UNHCR’s commitment to “leave no one behind”. For example, only 35% of forcibly displaced people in Ethiopia, 55% of those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 79% of those in the United Republic of Tanzania have access to “at least basic drinking water services”. Significant work is needed to reach this and other WASH targets.

As the causes and impacts of displacement increase in complexity and connectedness, meeting basic WASH needs is increasingly challenging. The speed, size and physical distribution of displacement, overlapping with the vulnerability of hosting populations and ongoing disasters, add challenges to UNHCR’s WASH responses, affecting the accessibility and acceptability of WASH services provided across the duration of displacement.

Climatic shocks and trends complicate WASH services since WASH infrastructure is vulnerable to damage from increasingly frequent climate events such as floods and landslides. These events also cause onward movements of forcibly displaced people, disrupting efforts to build up operational and maintenance expertise among the displaced population and to build self-sufficiency within the community.

Ensuring continuity in operating and maintaining WASH service provision is increasingly difficult given the protracted nature of displacements, often resulting in failing systems that are less able to meet the needs of the population. A majority of forcibly displaced and stateless people are hosted by low- and middle-income countries, whose governments face multiple challenges in providing WASH services. Transitioning to government-led systems requires long-term interventions in such settings.

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Global needs for Clean water, sanitation and hygiene in 2024

$252 million

+7% vs 2023 current budget

Regional needs 


Global needs OA12

Top ten operational budgets for Clean water, sanitation and hygiene (USD millions) 


Top ten OA12
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How UNHCR will make a difference

In 2024,UNHCR will provide WASH services to forcibly displaced people in new life-saving responses and protracted situations in 34 countries. In line with the “Operational strategy for climate resilience and environmental sustainability 2022- 2025”, UN member States’ commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Compact on Refugees, UNHCR will advocate for increasingly sustainable and climate-resilient WASH services.

UNHCR will also advocate for the systematic inclusion of forcibly displaced populations in national WASH services and related plans, as in Uganda where a number of water systems are being handed over to district water authorities, and in Ethiopia, where water supply systems are being developed in direct collaboration with the Government and development partners.

Through Project Flow’s innovative financing mechanisms, UNHCR is aiming to solarize at least 20 water systems in 2024, supporting the global effort to mitigate climate change while also improving the water service levels and sustainable use of groundwater. Additional feasibility studies, including water and energy assessments, and detailed designs will be undertaken to reach the eventual target of solarizing 180 water systems, servicing host communities as well as the forcibly displaced population.

Core indicators

Water access

Proportion of people using at least basic drinking water services


Proportion of people with access to a safe household toilet

A sample of core outcome indicators

12.1 Proportion of people using at least basic drinking water services

Country Population Type Baseline Target 2023 Target 2024


Refugees and Asylum-seekers

100% 100% 100%

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Refugees and Asylum-seekers

55% 70% 85%


Refugees and Asylum-seekers

35% 85% 100%


Refugees and Asylum-seekers

100% 100% 100%

United Republic of Tanzania

Refugees and Asylum-seekers 79% 100% 100%
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UNHCR will further consolidate the use of smart water sensors (SWS) for improved management of water supplies. 10 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including Bangladesh, Iraq and Uganda, will benefit from real-time monitoring of multiple operational variables including water network performance, groundwater levels, water quality and energy consumption. Trends and gaps in water systems efficiency, groundwater and energy use will be monitored from a distance, facilitating easier and more regular oversight. This data and analysis provide strong evidence to enable optimization and greater efficiency, reducing the operating cost, saving water, and increasing environmental sustainability.

As part of its efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change, UNHCR will strengthen the climate resiliency of critical WASH infrastructure, for example through infrastructure enhancements to prevent damage by floods and sustainable water resource management.

A person with white coat and other protective clothing looks at a lab chart.
Lab technologist Mohammed Elahi works on blood tests for Rohingya refugees. © UNHCR/Saikat Mojumder
Parthership PNG 150ppi

Sony Group Corporation strengthens efforts to support refugee health and access to safe water


The Sony Group Corporation has been supporting UNHCR in addressing the needs of forcibly displaced people since 2001. From the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic Sony stepped up to support UNHCR’s response, making a $3 million contribution in 2020. In 2023, Sony strengthened its partnership with UNHCR to support COVID-19 recovery efforts in Bangladesh and in southern Africa, donating $6 million over three years for health care, water, sanitation, and hygiene, bringing long-term benefits for people who have been forced to flee.